There is no shortage of hype around the student walkout that was held nationwide a couple of weeks ago, in honor of the Florida school shooting victims. Students across the nation felt the need to walk out of their classrooms for 17 minutes and take a stand against school violence.
I asked people from other school districts to see if anyone in our rural area knew about the walkout, and there were some larger schools who were actually memorializing the slain students from Florida, which was really thoughtful, and I’m sure held significant meaning. And then there were some other schools where the students were exploited for adult political purposes, which I found reprehensible.
But then there was the North Adams-Jerome FFA class, which had their own “walk-out.” None of them knew anything about the national walkout, but this class of 26 students took a walk into reality when they bundled up and walked out to the FFA barn and pitched sheep manure for an hour on that Wednesday.
The sheep and their lambs had been taken home and it was time to get that barn cleaned out for the next project. I can proudly report, they all “pitched” in without complaint and some of them pitched the next day and the next.
This was while the others worked in the greenhouse and another group was sent out with a measuring tape to figure out how much gravel was needed to replace the ruts that were made in the muddy driveway to the barn.
They talked, they pitched, they dumped, they swept, they laughed, they pitched. As I stood in the barn “riding herd” over the group making sure everyone had the opportunity to experience this life lesson, the conversation was lively. We discussed their plans for prom, their senior trip and if the weather was going to cooperate for their first baseball and softball games of the season.
The only grievance we heard was from the softball coach, who said some of his girls were complaining they had blisters on their hands from pitching manure and didn’t want to take batting practice. He’s old-school and supports hard work, so he made them take batting practice anyway.
There’s a time to pay respect and a time to get moving. If we expect this world to continue to function and drive on, we need to step up to the plate, do the work and suffer through a blister or two.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments for Melissa Hart may write to her in care of this publication.