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Live Animal Lab Groundbreaking at Surry Central High and Surry Community College

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A groundbreaking was held on Friday, April 9, 2022, for the Agriculture students of Surry Central High School and Surry Community College on a new live animal lab. Surry County Schools and Surry Community College have partnered together to bring hands-on experiences to students taking Agricultural classes with a live learning lab on the campus of Surry Central High School. The facility will be used by faculty at both facilities to offer hands-on instruction for raising calves, goats, piglets, and other small animals. Students will receive valuable training in the field of Animal Science in this cooperative lab. The barn will be 40’x60’ A-Frame metal building with two garage door entrances and a lean-to on each side.

The FFA of Surry Central was well represented and donned in their official dress apparel. The agriscience teacher, Mrs. Lydia Haynes, expressed the significance of such an event and remarked that “the joint-use facility will be extremely beneficial to the instruction and application of both SCC and Surry Central Animal Science classes. In this facility, we will be able to show students the processes and common occurrences they could encounter when working on a farm. At the barn, students will be able to apply what they learn in class to real-life scenarios such as milking dairy goats, helping birth animals, and routine animal husbandry practices such as trimming hooves and administering vaccinations.”

FFA member, Morgan Hodges mentioned, “We won’t be contained to the classroom as much and we can do more hands-on work than we do in-class small scale. This barn will afford students the real-world aspect of a farm that is going to be crucial to lifelong career success.”

“This joint facility barn will be a game-changer for both SCC and Surry Central. In this barn, students will be able to apply what they learn in class to real-life scenarios,” says James Quick, Applied Animal Science Lead Instructor at Surry Community College. “For example, after reviewing reproductive physiology in class, students will be able to heat-check female pigs and potentially help in the birthing process. This barn will give invaluable experience for students and also allow them to practice responsibility in the raising of livestock animals.”

The groundbreaking event drew a small crowd of Surry Central High School and Surry Community College students and staff who came to witness the momentous occasion.

Superintendent Dr. Travis L. Reeves noted, “This event marks a community effort and the type of learning our community has come to expect. Hands-on learning is relevant to the world around us. . . .That is the beauty of public education. It is the cornerstone of our community and brings us all together. Career and College Promise (CCP) is preparing students for careers and beyond. In order to do so, we have to make learning real; take learning out of the classroom into live learning labs.”

Dr. Reeves also stated, “I would like to thank those who have labored and will yet labor to make this vision of an agriculture barn a reality. An unknown author wrote, 'It’s not about how bad you want it….it’s about how hard you are willing to work for it.' That grit and tenacity to work hard are what makes the difference between good and great. We live in a great county, and we have a great school system where educators, community members, and business partners work together to ensure students have the best opportunity to be successful. . . . Great things are available in Surry County; careers, jobs, and life.”

Surry Community College President Dr. David Shockley commented, "Surry Community College is excited to partner with Surry County Schools on the Surry Central High School barn project. The barn will be on Surry County Schools land, adjacent to our Dobson campus and across the road from one of the college's agricultural storage facilities. Surry Community College and Surry County Schools will continue our strong partnership in the field of Animal Science by cooperatively using the new barn for high school and college instruction. It's a wonderful effort resulting in shared resources and a non-duplication of instruction. Students take Ag classes in high school and then advance to Surry Community College and earn a diploma in Applied Animal Science Technology. Then, they can pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Education at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University through an established college transfer agreement."

Surry County Schools is seeking additional funding to complete the agriculture barn project. If you would like to get involved to help make this vision a reality, please contact Ashley Mills, Managing Director of the Surry County Schools Educational Foundation at (336)386-8211 or by email at millsa@surry.k12.nc.us. The agriculture barn will undoubtedly mean a great deal to both agriculture programs at Surry Central High School and Surry Community College, the FFA, and the community.

Superintendent Dr. Travis L. Reeves and Dr. David Shockley speak to the small crowd from Surry County Schools and Surry Community College before the groundbreaking ceremony.

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