MOSES LAKE — “This is nostalgic in the weirdest way.”
That’s how Moses Lake High School sophomore Saya Laibel described Farm Day as she and her fellow Future Farmers of America waited for the next gaggle of first graders to show up and learn about pigs.
“It’s really weird because I remember, as a kid, coming through here, getting taught by big kids, and now, I’m like, teaching my sister who’s here right now,” Laibel said.
“It’s crazy to think about,” she added.
But in a place like Moses Lake, it’s the way of things for many students who were born here, or came here when they were very young, or who have had family who settled here decades or generations ago.
Farm Day is an annual rite for passage — for first-graders and high school FFA students alike — that brings all of the Moses Lake School District’s first-graders to the Grant County Fairgrounds’ Ardell Pavilion to pet sheep and see pigs and learn about how plants and where food comes from.
According to Tony Kern, FFA advisor and agriculture teacher at MLHS, Farm Day is part of the organization’s essential outreach — especially to primary school students from kindergarten to sixth grade.
“It’s a huge part of our program, and it’s been going on for a long time,” Kern said. “It’s our opportunity to reach out to every first grader in the district, and give our high school kids an opportunity to teach a little bit about agriculture and where our food comes from.”
Such as sophomore Braiden Kling, who is showing off his pigs after not so long ago taking a bus to this event as a first grader.
“I’ve been raising pigs most of my life,” Kling said. “I remember going to first grade Farm Day, it was awesome. I remember going and petting all pigs, cows and dogs and walking on all the tractors. It was awesome.”
“And now, being on the other side, it’s difficult. I don’t know how to explain it,” he said.
Someone might say it’s the circle of life. If these teens stay here in Moses Lake, eventually their kids will tour this pavilion, and learn about sheep, and goats, and chickens, and cows.
Laibel had another way to describe this day as they waited for the next group of six-year-olds.
“It’s like an out-of-body experience, kind of,” she said.
Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.