By Stafford MSD Communications
But Woodard, a sophomore, and Joseph, a freshman, were pleasantly surprised during their first trip to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at NRG Stadium.
The Calf Scramble is a treasured tradition at the Rodeo, in which approximately 30 students attempt to catch and put a halter on a group of 15 calves in an exhibition that lasts for about 15 minutes.
The winners are awarded $2,000 ($1,750 immediately, and $250, the following year) to purchase a heifer, a steer, or to use for scholarship money.
Woodard and Joseph – both of whom live in Stafford — weren’t catching any calves, so they decided to turn their attention to helping their fellow calf scramblers.
“When you see that somebody is struggling, you want to help them,” Joseph said. “It’s a good thing to help others.”
The HLSR Calf Scramble Committee recognized the Stafford students’ goodwill and awarded Woodard and Joseph, “the Good Samaritan Award,” in which they received the same $2,000 as the kids who caught the calves.
“I was proud,” said Marcus Walker, a veteran Agriculture instructor. “It showed the values that we’re teaching are still there. It showed me these guys are taking what they’re learning and applying it to daily life.”
Woodard and Joseph plan to use the $2,000 to each purchase Heifers after the Rodeo concludes. Both students aspire to be cattlemen, and will use the reward as “start-up money” to build their cattle empire on the rural outskirts of Houston.
“After I buy the Heifer, I’m going to breed it with a Grand Champion Bull,” Woodard said. “Eventually, I will sell livestock in Houston, Fort Bend, San Antonio, Fort Worth and as far away as Nevada.”
When it’s time to sell an animal, all of the money goes directly to the student who took care of the animal.
Stafford, located less than 15 miles away from downtown Houston, is hardly anyone’s picture of rural America.
But Walker and his students are changing the perception when it comes to Agricultural education. There are 90 students in the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources program, and 55 registered members of the school’s chapter of the Future Farmers America.
“It teaches them responsibility,” Walker said. “Most of these students live in subdivisions and apartments and are introduced to Agriculture through this program.”
At the department’s on-campus barn, students raise everything from pigs and rabbits to heifers and calves.
“We’re turning Stafford into a country town,” said Woodard, who currently participates in team roping and hopes to see a high school rodeo inside the city limits before he graduates from Stafford.
Throughout the year, student takes responsibility for their animals, which are kept at the Barn – walking, grooming and feeding with them. When issues arise for the pets, the students look to Walker’s expertise for help.
“We can call Mr. Walker at 8 p.m. if there’s a problem with one of the animals, and he’ll show up to help,” Joseph said.
Stafford College & Career Center is a state-of-the-art component of Stafford High School. Students who apply to the College & Career Center and/or Stafford High are not required to live in Stafford. To schedule a tour, e-mail College & Career Center Director Debbie Nordt at email@example.com.
Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources is one of 13 programs that the Stafford College & Career Center offers. The other programs are Arts, Audio/Visual Technology & Communications; Business Management & Administration; Education & Training; Health Science; Culinary Arts; Information Technology; Law, Public Safety & Corrections; Manufacturing; Marketing, Sales & Service; Welding, Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM), & Transportation, Distribution & Logistics. Four of the academies — Law and Public Service, Culinary, Welding and Automotive — offer Dual Credit classes ending in a certification through Houston Community College.