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FFA educates elementary students with show and tell

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Second grade students in Nicole Terrell’s class pet and learn about the pony and donkey that were brought to Hendricks Elementary.
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A group of students in Jessica Larrison’s second grade class visit an alpaca Wednesday afternoon at Hendricks Elementary. The FFA chapter in Shelbyville visited each elementary school this week.

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

Hendricks Elementary School students crowded around temporary gates inside the school’s gymnasium on Wednesday, eager for the opportunity to meet a donkey, pygmy goat and other farm animals.

Members of the Future Farmers of America club from Shelbyville High School introduced each animal to the students as they went around. It was an opportunity for students to learn about the animals and introduce them to FFA, advisor Kay Box said.

The FFA visited all three elementary schools this week, finishing up at Hendricks. The animals were brought into the gymnasium because of potential rain.

As the students took turns petting each animal, members of Shelbyville’s FFA provided fun facts. Each class was given about 10 minutes in the gymnasium.

The visit gave young children who haven’t been exposed to farm animals the opportunity to learn about them and ask questions.

One child asked earlier in the morning where the alpaca’s hump was, believing it to be a camel, she said. Another asked if the animals always stayed outdoors.

An estimated 85 percent of Shelbyville children don’t have experience around farm animals, aside from dogs and cats, she said.

So she thought bringing some over to the schools would be a good introduction.

“It’s an opportunity for them to get hands-on experience, to know where food comes from, and to know we do take care of them, sometimes better than ourselves,” Box said with a laugh.

The FFA, now in its second year at Shelbyville, also brought a sheep, a Scottish Highland cow and a pony. There are now 280 members in the club. Box wanted to acknowledge those who made the visits possible, specifically Sarah Finkel, Mary Harper, Dana Montgomery and Alecia Adkins.

“We had a good first year, and hopefully we’re going to continue to expand,” Box said.