Schools shine on show stage

NSW public schools were among the winners at the 2023 Royal Easter Show.

Image: Narrandera High School students with one of their champion Angora goats at the Royal Easter Show.

The decision to breed Angora goats at its school ag farm nearly four years has paid dividends for Narrandera High.

The school was named Champion School Exhibitor at the 2023 Royal Easter Show.

“It’s been a great experience for the students and we achieved some outstanding results,” Narrandera High ag teacher Matt Shady said.

“We’ve been breeding Angora’s for four years. We’ve got 14 stud animals at the school and 9 wethers, and this is our third year at the Royal Easter Show.”

Narrandera High also took home the Champion School Wether, Champion Junior Group of Three, Champion Open Sires Junior Progeny and Reserve Champion Open Buck titles.

Mr Shady said 11 students from years 9 and 10 had travelled to the show, with the sale of the mohair from the goats helping to finance the trip.

“We shear them twice a year, roughly every six months or so. I’ve just dropped off the mohair at the Australian Mohair Marketing Organisation here in Narrandera. The money we earn goes back into the program at school,” he said.

“The show’s a great experience for the students. We try and have them there for the full three days of the competition as it gives them more exposure to the industry.

“One of the really great things about the Angora industry is the support of the other exhibitors. They’re really supportive and protective.”

Peak Hill Central School achieved outstanding results in both the poultry and Angora goat competitions.

The school’s goats received wins and placings in both the school and open classes.

The school also won the Champion School Poultry Exhibit, narrowly beating out Elderslie High School, with numerous class wins in the waterfowl and bantam chicken categories.

Image: Brisbane Water Secondary College - Umina took five of its Berkshire pigs to the Royal Easter Show.

Pork partnership pays off

Brisbane Water Secondary College - Umina campus’ successful partnership with Forbes pork breeders Richard and Heather Cole continued at this year’s show, with the school winning the Supreme Champion Boar of Show.

The college and Cole family have been successfully exhibiting pigs in partnership for many years.

Along with the Supreme Champion Boar trophy, the college swept the champion boar awards in the Berkshire pig category, also winning the Supreme Exhibit title.

Richard and Heather breed Berkshire pigs on their property just outside Forbes and started hosting work experience students from the Central Coast school more than 15 years ago.

“It is our duty to give willing students from metropolitan areas exposure to real agriculture,” Mr Cole told agribusiness website Robinson Swell Partners.

“We take the students around the farm to livestock sales and other events. To see the look on their faces is fantastic.

“If only half those students come back wanting to work in agriculture, we’ve done nothing else but teach them where their food has come from and what farmers do.”

Image: Staff and teachers with NSW Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car at the Teacher's Lounge.

Teacher's Lounge proves a hit

At the department’s Regional, Rural and Remote Education Unit Teacher’s Lounge, hospitality students from the Rural Students Café provided more than 1500 free coffees to teachers throughout the show.

“With a key focus on enhancing equity group representation, the stand was an opportunity to promote opportunities across regional NSW and provided a breakout space for teachers and school staff,” Regional, Rural and Remote Education Policy Unit team member Sacha Perram said.

“It was a small token of thanks to our amazing teachers and school staff for all they do.”

Image: Maclean High School was competing at its first Royal Easter Show.

Cattle a class above

Yanco Agricultural High School won the lightweight school steer (350-440kg) category in the Purebred Steer and Carcase competition ahead of Kempsey’s Macleay Vocational College.

The school also received several category placings, as did Denison College Kelso, Macleay Vocational College, Wellington High and Brisbane Water Secondary College.

In the Trade Hoof and Carcase competitions, Braidwood Central School and Narooma High School both achieved placings in their respective categories, while Maclean High took home third and fourth placings in the Speckle Park female (over 24 and not over 30 months) category in the Beef competition.

Image: Ajuga School won the secondary schools fresh produce category.

Keeping it fresh

The Ajuga School in Glenfield won the secondary school produce competition, ahead of James Ruse Agricultural High School and Holsworthy High School.

“A gigantic congratulations to Boronia Class for driving this project and to every student who has cared and nurtured our garden this year,” the school posted on its website.

“We would also like to thank Ant from the Georges River Environmental Education Centre, whose continued weekly support has encouraged our students to persevere with this project.”

In the primary schools produce competition, Tarrawanna Public School finished second and Gorokan Public School third.

“The students had a great time exploring the show and we were fortunate enough to be invited to meet the new Deputy Premier of NSW and Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Prue Car MP, which was very exciting,” Tarrawanna Public posted on its Facebook page.

“The students also got to meet the judge who judged our fresh produce and we had a great chat as to how we can improve for next year.”

Image: Camden High School's winning entry in the giant pumpkin competition.

Pumpkins smash the scales

Camden High School narrowly missed out on taking home the top prize in the Giant Pumpkin (under 50kg) competition, finishing second, but did win the secondary school award, pipping Forbes High School.

Blaxland High School, Elderslie High School and Banks Public School all took home placings in the best decorated pumpkin competitions.

Girraween High School in Sydney’s west won the Champion School Exhibit in the honey competition, beating out stiff competition from Cherrybrook Technology High School and Bossley Park High School.

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