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Students turn old barn into sugar shack

SHERBURNE (WBNG) — Students in the Sherburne-Earlville School District are getting hands-on experience inside the classroom, but it’s happening in the school’s backyard.

The district’s agriculture in the classroom program returned this year after a long hiatus. A pole barn on the school’s campus was once a part of it.

“What we’ve learned so far is that it was built just to store tractors in and all that kind of stuff,” said agriculture teacher Nicole Chiappetta.

Now, it’s getting a new taste on life, being turned into a sugar shack.

“We’re going to boil our sap in there and make all of our maple byproducts in there. And we’re working on construction right now,” said sophomore Ryan Jones.

Chiappetta says it’s important for students to learn by doing.

“There’s a lot of students that I believe struggle in their every day-to-day setting so getting those students down into the ag room, or whether it’s ag or tech room, doing that hands-on experience, gets them doing something they love,” said Chiappetta.

“It definitely takes skills you don’t usually use in math or English class and you can let it go out here and you can work hands-on with tools,” said Jones.

Teachers say it’s also important to have something like this in the community.

“Sherburne totally wouldn’t be Sherburne without the agriculture community that we have. A lot of our students come from farms whether it’s family farms or farms that they work at somewhere, so it’s important to keep those skills going because we can’t feed the world without farmers or without people that have those skills to do it,” said Chiappetta.

The hopes is to have the construction of the pole barn completed by the end of the school year, with a fully functional maple program by next maple season.

The project is being funded with the help of an agriculture incentive grant from the state.

Annie Flaherty

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