No kidding about for these champion students

Peak Hill and Narrandera agriculture students outshone herds of competition to score Royal Easter Show awards for their goats. Sophie Lambert reports.

The original GOAT - greatest of all time - school

Peak Hill Central School’s Angora goats, raised and nurtured by students, are officially the top kids on the block, with the school recognised at the Royal Easter Show as the most successful in the prestigious competition.

Students travelled to Sydney from Peak Hill, 50 kilometres north of Parkes, with their silky-haired goats to go head-to-bleating-head with the finest goats the state has to offer.

Peak Hill Central School agriculture teacher Ken Horley said the school was “both shocked and immensely proud” of the students’ results at the Royal Easter Show.

The school was recognised as the ‘Most Successful School’, winning ribbons in both the schools’ and open sections.

The awards included Grand Champion Junior (Animal Any Sex), Champion and Reserve Champion Junior (Open Class), Champion and Reserve Champion (Schools Exhibit) and Reserve Champion Kid (Open Class).

Mr Horley said the students were involved in all aspects of caring for the herd of 17 goats, from feeding to husbandry, prepping, shearing and washing the animals.

“Taking pride in our Angora goats gives the students something to care about and a reason to come to school,” he said.

“It teaches them about compassion, and the skills they acquire are transferrable to many different animal breeds.”

A large group of students wearing ribbons standing behind two prize-winning goats A large group of students wearing ribbons standing behind two prize-winning goats
Image: Best of the beasts: (Back row) Narrandera show team from left, Matt Shady, Hannah Beer, Charli Church, Eugen Close, Julia Walsh, Madison Fitsgerald, Mateo Gonzalez Monardes, Mr Hans. (middle row) Ella Richens, Lucy Gooden, Aston Hammond, Emmett Smith, Alexa Appleby. (Front row) Samantha Kerr and Jessica Wright

Narrandera’s peerless paraders

It was almost a clean sweep for Narrandera High School in the youth paraders’ classes, with students Jessica Wright, Hannah Beer, Eugene Close and Lucy Gooden placing first, second, third and fifth, respectively.

Narrandera High’s goats also won places in the Open Junior Buck Class, the Wether Team of Three, the Wether Production Class and the Production Class for a Team of Three Animals Under 12 Months Old.

Year 10 agriculture student Hannah Beer was chuffed with the school’s performance.

“The best part of looking after the goats is seeing the rewards at the end; when you come away from the show and the work you’ve put in has been beneficial,” she said.

“I love being able to see what happens behind the scenes at shows and what is actually involved in preparing them for competition.”

The Narrandera team also won the prestigious herdsmanship ribbon, which recognises the combined efforts of the students in looking after their animals and helping other exhibitors, stewards and staff at the Royal Easter Show.

Narrandera High agriculture teacher Matthew Shady said the Riverina school had been exhibiting Angora goats for five years nationally. The herd is nurtured by students for mohair, meat production and breeding capabilities.

“The greatest thing the students receive by looking after the goats is empathy,” he said.

“Many students don’t have animals to look after at home so being part of our agriculture program means they have to learn to put the animals first.

“It’s about balancing their own needs with the needs of the animals and making good decisions.”

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