Wishek students learn life lessons at sale barn

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 3:33 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2022 at 3:41 PM CST
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WISHEK, N.D. – Normally a story about kids skipping school is not good news.

And while parents and teachers certainly don’t encourage that, there is something special about this story that we think makes it good news.

In Wishek, the ties to agriculture are strong, and that’s got one teacher looking for creative ways to keep kids interested in the farm life.

Fourth-graders Tayden Entzi and Olivia Rath spend most school days here, in their classroom at Wishek Elementary School. And when they’re not at school, there’s a good chance they’re helping on their family farms.

“Open the gates and go out with the cows,” explained Olivia.

“I help open gates help feed and checks the cattle and also check water tanks,” added Tayden.

Last week, they missed school to take their calves to the sale barn.

“It’s an opportunity for them to come and see themselves while they did the work with me,” said Tayden’s dad, Tyler Vetter.

“We told them they had to bring their schoolwork home and get it done the day before,” said Olivia’s dad, Nathan Rath.

But their teacher didn’t send any work home. Instead, she gave them a special assignment.

Lisa Hendrickson asked Tayden and Olivia to interview her husband, who works for the North Dakota department of agriculture, and Arly Schumacher, a state brand inspector.

“My motivation behind this is my kids need lifelong learning experiences. You have to speak to people for the rest of your life. So, you need to learn how to communicate with people whether you know them or you don’t know them,” explained Lisa.

The students did that and compiled their answers into reports they shared with the class. The assignment made an impression on them, and on the adults.

“I think it’s awesome to see the enthusiasm the kids have in being at the barns and the involvement that they have at a young age,” said Kevin Hendrickson.

Involvement that their teacher hopes might inspire them to pursue careers in agriculture.

Mrs. Hendrickson says she’s always looking for new ways to tailor her lessons to her students’ interests.

And by the way, Tayden says he would like to be a farmer when he grows up. Olivia is considering a career as a vet or working on the farm.

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