Farming Tradition Yields Student Growth
Boys Republic’s founders wanted to create a wholesome small farm and school environment where students could develop confidence in their abilities through meaningful work. That’s why, in 1909, staff and children relocated from the school’s original location in a San Fernando Valley hotel to Chino. The move provided a permanent rural location that the school’s founders envisioned.Since then, the school’s agricultural roots have grounded thousands of students in honest work. Of their many duties, students operated a prize-winning dairy herd. The cows were milked twice a day, no exceptions. Students tested and pasteurized the milk, then supplied it to the campus.
The dairy was discontinued in 1972, but students still train in the agricultural program. Today, teenagers care for a herd of 200 beef cattle. With the farmer, students carry out the daily operations required to maintain a healthy herd. They help cultivate the crops for the cattle, shovel food into feeding troughs, and assist with providing special care for the calves.
The hands-on work experience program teaches students—the majority of whom have never visited a farm nor seen a cow in person— the demands of running a farm. They must take direction from the farmer and work together, at a steady pace, to complete the day’s duties. While they are held accountable for their own work, the teens are also responsible for the farm animals that are completely dependent upon them. As students develop their work skills to provide such care, their self-esteem grows through their work for the animals and the greater environment that sustains them.
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