Zachary High School includes a few residents not usually found on campus — a pot-bellied pig named Skipper, two goats named Chloe and Fifi, seven chickens, five rabbits, a parakeet named Columbia and some fish.
The menagerie is the responsibility of the agricultural science teacher and students.
Melissa Brumbaugh, of Denham Springs, is in her second year teaching agricultural science to Zachary High students.
Brumbaugh says the students learn about agriculture, parliamentary procedure, land management, care of livestock and other animals and responsibility.
Students are responsible for the daily feeding and care of the animals, all of which live at the school full time.
Student Samantha Bankston cares for the two goats, feeding and working with them on weekends and during the holidays.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Livestock Show will be the first time she’s exhibited them.
Bankston, who is in 4-H along with classmate Hunter Heinrich, is the treasurer for the Future Farmers of America chapter. Brumbaugh is the adviser.
Heinrich will exhibit a goat that he keeps at home in the Parish Livestock Show scheduled for Jan. 22-23.
Student Kayla Clifton is responsible for the rabbits.
“I take them out and pet them. Give them some attention,” Clifton said while holding Queenie. “I like learning about animals.”
Brumbaugh, who is married to an agriculture teacher at Denham Springs High School, taught at Belle Chasse for two years before taking the job at Zachary High.
She said besides taking care of the livestock, the students have grown vegetables in gardens behind her classroom on campus.
Some have planted fall gardens of broccoli, kale and strawberries, which are flourishing in makeshift planters crafted with funds from a Farm to School grant. Other ag students will plant in the spring.
“The lesson is to teach the students how to grow their own food,” Brumbaugh said. “Our goal is to grow hydroponic lettuce and tomatoes in the greenhouses, harvest them and give to the cafeteria to serve.”