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Friday, May 27, 2022

Goats teach responsibility to Willow’s students

Willow – Students with special needs at Willow High School learn all about animal care at the high school farm.

The Mighty Honor Goat program at Willow High School connects America’s future farmers with general education students who have special needs. The goal is to advise and teach developmentally disabled students how to properly feed, exercise, clean, care for and prepare goats for shows and auctions. The 2022 Mighty Honor Goat program will culminate at the Glenn County Fair running from May 17 to May 22.

Students visit the farm every other day to care for their goats as part of their agriculture issues class. Goats were born in October.

“It teaches them responsibility,” said teacher Stacy Alves. “There is a bond between special education students and the general education department.”

Golden State Farm Credit is the main sponsor of the program and Golden State Farm Credit employee Chris Costa handles the community outreach. For example, the program pays for student fees and appropriate uniforms.

“They get to take care of animals and learn a very unique skill,” Costa said.

Students have a lot of fun taking care of animals and working together.

Carla Hernandez is a junior and is taking classes.

“I was inspired to help the kids,” Hernandez said. “I had no idea how much I would love this. The kids fell in love with the goats. Excited to see the fair. I’m so grateful that our school has this.”

Hernandez would like to become a doctor someday and is taking ag issue classes as an elective.

Special education student Adam Dyke named his goat Bob, which he said “came out of his head.” Dyke said he learned a lot from taking the class and would like to take it again next year. His uncle has a farm. He is looking forward to ride the amusement park rides at the fair.

Class XI student Brannon Bipps is the dyke’s mentor.

Bipps said, ‘It’s a great experience. “I like to see kids with big smiles.”

Bippus is also showing his power in the fair.

Golden State Farm is located in Credit Chico and is a major sponsor of seven fairs this year, including the Silver Dollar and Butte County Fairs. The CEO of Golden State Farm Credit canceled $300,000 worth of ads during COVID-19 and put it to programs and community organizations that support agriculture. “The impact of these donations to local agriculture during a pandemic has been remarkable,” said marketing and public relations consultant Nicole Johansson.

The Mighty Honor Goats will be shown by special education students at the Glen County Fairgrounds on Wednesday, May 18. The goats will be auctioned on Saturday 21 May.

“I have been told that there is no dry eye in the room and it is quite fun to watch these goats speak. Everyone wants to buy these animals,” Johansson said.

Class XI student Kate Amaro is a mentor and junior mentor. His uncle is a farmer.

“It really taught me a lot about leadership,” Amaro said. “I love seeing the sides of Jose Fleets, a student with special needs and how happy it makes him. Kids are excited to show up. You learn a lot about yourself and others. I see smiles and anything.” Doesn’t matter. This program is one of a kind.”

Amaro plans to major in agribusiness in college. She will be seen showing rabbits at the fair.

Amaro’s mother, Diane Amaro, is a parenting advisor in the classroom.

“It’s very rewarding,” she said. “I work behind the scenes.” Diane Amaro visits the farm once a week to help.

“The motto of this program is to be humble and kind,” said Diane Amaro.

According to a press release, Golden State Farm Credit highlighted the program in its annual report as the main underwriting sponsor that makes this event possible.

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