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West Jordan Journal

Copper Hills students raise and train lambs for a livestock show

Sep 01, 2021 03:51PM ● By Jet Burnham

Cali Frank’s lamb gets sheared before the livestock show and auction held Aug. 12–14. (Photo courtesy of Nikki Franc.)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Three students from Copper Hills High School—Kendra Bradford, Lilly Newbold and Cali Franc—spent their summer preparing lambs for the Salt Lake County Livestock Show Aug. 12–14.

“All three of my students that showed lambs this year had no agricultural experience whatsoever, or very little agricultural experience, so this was a whole new world for them,” CHHS agriculture teacher Katelyn Bodily said. “It takes hours of making sure you're feeding them, taking care of them and training the lambs. You have to train them to walk with you, you have to train them to brace, which is basically the lamb posing with you. So [the students] gain a good work ethic.”

Bodily said students also learned record keeping skills, as they tracked finances and time spent training and caring for the animals.

Franc, a junior this year, heard about the opportunity while taking Bodily’s floral design class last year.

“It just sounded kind of fun, a new thing to do over summer and have something to do,” Franc said. She felt like she didn’t know what she was doing at first. The lambs she took care of were nothing like those she’d interacted with at petting farms.

Franc said she had to get to know her lamb’s personality and learn how to respond when he would run away when she came to train him.

“I had to find ways to get him to come to me,” she said.

Her favorite part of the experience was getting to know the personality of her lamb, which she named Pablo Picasso because she thought he looked much different than the other lambs.

“All the lambs had pretty long noses, and his is all scrunched up and has the flattest face—he's just different,” Franc said.

Under her care, Pablo grew from 80 pounds to 118 pounds. He was sold at auction after the show.

Bodily said the summer project was a great way for students to learn about the agricultural world.

“A lot of these students don’t have space for animals like that and don't have property or don't know anything about it, honestly,” Bodily said.

CHHS doesn’t have an extensive agricultural department—just three classes offered. But Bodily often collaborates with the agriculture teacher at nearby West Jordan High School, which has a barn and houses small animals year-round. Three WJHS students also prepared lambs for the livestock show. The six students worked together to care for and train their lambs, which were kept in the barn on the WJHS campus.

Raising the lambs qualified as a Supervised Agricultural Experience for which the students received a .25 CTE elective credit for completing. SAE’s can be any work-based learning projects related to agriculture, said Bodily, so many students use their summer jobs, yard work or training their pets for SAE credit.

“You can basically connect agriculture to most things, like basically everything; you can't have anything without agriculture,” Bodily said.

Bodily’s goal for the summer SAE’s is simple.

“I want them to have fun,” she said. “I want them to learn something, and I want them to make friends.” 

Franc said she did all three.

“It was just a really cool experience to do over the summer,” she said.