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High school students raise pigs as part of education


At one metro high school, lessons are about more than just math and English.

In fact, Blue Valley teachers take the students outside the classroom and to the farm because they believe that can help students figure out what they’re going to do in the real world.

The program is called Center for Advanced Professional Studies, or “CAPS.”

One of the lessons the program has is for their veterinarian medicine group. That group of high school seniors have been raising pigs at the Swickard Family Farm in Johnson County.

There, they learn about the ins-and-outs of animal medicine and whether they should continue their studies in college.

The program was all possible thanks to a grant that teacher Kelley Tuel received.

“This is a way for them to get their feet wet and try out different careers with the interaction of the people who are doing those careers,” said Tuel, a CAPS veterinarian medicine instructor.

The students are responsible for feeding and cleaning the pigs, and studying their habits. It involves everything from researching their living conditions to hygiene.

“It’s really interesting, I think, when we got the pigs and everyone was excited and sometimes we’ll come out here and watch then and play with them,” said Ally Scanlon, a senior. “It’s definitely different and super fun.”

“I wasn’t really certain what I was going to do,” said senior Austin Slobodzian, “but taking this class has really helped me with what I want to do in the next 10, 20 years of my life.”

This is the sixth year CAPS has allowed students to explore the world of veterinarian medicine and the third using pigs.

The class will raise the pigs and sell them, using the proceeds to purchase more pigs for next year.