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Stafford students learn lessons, enjoy Kansas Day
alexia morgan 2
Alexia Morgan bakes some goodies. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

STAFFORD — Stafford USD 349 students learned agricultural lessons from the ground up with the theme of “The Story of Wheat,” during a recent Kansas Day celebration held Jan. 29.
The event was cross-curricular and the high school students mentored/facilitated students in pre-school through eighth grade with a host of activities.
Shane Meschberger, Shawn Meschberger, Steve Hartnett, Arnold Hildebrand, and Carl Hildebrand were Stafford farmers who displayed farm equipment in front of the school on Broadway for students to view, touch, and ask questions.
Kanza Coop, provided a semi and grain trailer to display with the farm equipment.
Keith McNickle and Lucas Newell, Stafford school board members, walked students through the farm equipment as tour guides.
After the equipment tour, the students traveled to the south Kanza Co-op for a tour of the elevator with John Rice and Kanza Co-op Manager Donnie Pound. Pound demonstrated what happens in the office after a truck full of wheat is probed.
Students returned to the school to watch a video about the Stafford County Flour Mill. They were shown one of the first farm tools that harvested wheat by Gerry Ann Hildebrand, librarian/media specialist.
Students celebrated Kansas’ 153rd birthday with cupcakes at lunch.  Following lunch, each student in Stafford schools participated in pretzel and buttermaking next to a Trojan Artifact Fashion Show.
Each student made whole wheat dough that was formed into pretzels, with the help of Amy Collins, Kansas State Research and Extension, Stafford County; Cammie Vaupel, Stafford County Farm Bureau; and Denise Dickson, family consumer science instructor, and baking students.
Advisory board member and food service director, Sheila Zehr, facilitated the use of the proofer and convection oven. The baked pretzels were sent home with the students.
Each student had the opportunity to make their own butter to sample with whole wheat rolls.  Two high school students dressed in pioneer period costumes to demonstrate how butter was churned. Pretzel and buttermaking events were funded by a grant from the Golden Belt Community Foundation, Great Bend.
Brianna and Sharilyn McNickle demonstrated the wheat mill provided by Stafford County Farm Bureau.  
Randy Fritzemeier, past president of the Kansas Wheat Commission, engaged students in his presentation, “What Do You Get From a Bushel of Wheat?”
Old-fashioned Kansas games were organized by Kansas history teacher, Katie Minks, and physical education teacher, Jay Sweet.
Students in marketing, entrepreneurship, and yearbook presented a Trojan Nation Artifact Fashion Show, with the help of Connie Kocher and Natalie Clark, Stafford Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Center teacher and yearbook instructor.
The high school students researched primary artifacts from the Stafford County Museum and Stafford alumni and shared the artifacts and history of each item with the students in kindergarten through 12th grades.
The fashion show concluded with the Stafford High School band playing the school fight song and the appearance of the Trojan high school mascot. Students recorded the event with video and photos.
Stafford USD 349 has been chosen to design and implement a Hospitality and Tourism Career Cluster Restaurant and Event Management Pathway using emerging technologies for use as a state-wide model.
Classes in the pathway are taught by Denise Dickson, FACS teacher in the family and consumer science classroom/industrial kitchen and Natalie Clark, marketing/entrepreneurship teacher in the marketing management pathway at the SEED Center.
The Stafford Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (SEED) program is an innovative approach for meeting the educational and school-to-work preparation needs of high school students.
SEED Center classes are elective classes in the Marketing Management Pathway.  Students learn entrepreneurship and marketing principles while participating in individual and group projects. The students operate a sole proprietorship or a partnership and utilize marketing strategies to promote his/her business.
“The Stafford school district would like to say ‘Thank You,’ to all faculty, staff, students, and volunteers who helped make ‘Kansas Day — The Story of Wheat,’ a success,” Dickson said.