Our Town York: Animal Science program wins national honor

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YORK, Neb. (KOLN) The Agricultural Education program at York High School was named one of the top six such programs in the country by the National Career and Technical Education Association.

The cornerstone of the program is a hand-on Animal Science Lab, which currently enrolls about 40 percent of the student body in the school.

"Sometimes, the kids have no idea when they come to class what they are going to see," says Ag Instructor Jason Hirschfeld. So, for example, we have a whole miniature herd that we've partnered with Wessels here in York And we have miniature donkeys, miniature cows, pig, goats. The kids in animal science get to plan the matings, and we do the birthings in the animal lab."

The students are obviously engaged. "Every kid, pretty much, wants to take Animal Science with Mr. Hirschfeld, cause, I mean, what other class are you going to be able to work with cute, or weird animals . . . and also get the learn a little bit too?" says senior Max Kohmetscher.

"A lot of kids really like it and connect with it."

The York Animal Science program serves students of all ability levels. Hirschfeld notes one of the best things about the program is, when the kids are in the lab, it's a level playing field. The focus on caring for the animals seems to have a way of putting everyone on an equal footing.