Nan Austin

July 11, 2013

On Campus: Grass class and state fair awards for Turlock High

Hands-on Turlock High class gives landscaping job skills to a wide spectrum of students and THS welders earn top awards at California State Fair.

On Campus

The latest on local schools and education

A cutting edge, you might say, approach to basic job skills will be offered by Turlock High this coming year with a course on turf management.

The class will cover basic lawn care, from putting it in to keeping it lush and, naturally, neatly trimmed. The course focuses on larger lawns, like parks, cemeteries, golf courses and other properties sprinkled around communities, and ties in ag business opportunities and job application skills.

Any high school kid can take the course and get something out of it, from practicing leaf blowing to ag economics. The broad range was purposeful, to offer a career-focused course that special education students could also join, said Marie Peterson, interim principal at Turlock High.

“We are targeting our special education learning handicapped population to help them get some viable job skills,” she said.

Ag Department Chairman Chad Russell called it “a wide-open class.” After all, lots of kids are looking for a course without term papers.

The class will take on care of the varsity baseball field and other projects on campus. 

“We’re definitely going to get equipment in their hands and teach them how to (mow and trim),” Russell said. “You know, older people take that for granted, because they’ve done these things since they were kids. But kids nowadays don’t always get to do that.”

Turlock High expands to five full-time and one part-time ag instructors with the new course, which the Turlock Kiwanis club is chipping in to outfit with equipment, Peterson said.

In other THS ag news, Trey Smith will take a bow Saturday night, accepting a Golden Bear Award at the California State Fair for the laser scraper he built. 

Russell said Trey, a senior, put in 800 hours designing and arc welding the 18-foot-long, 18-foot-wide laser-guided land leveler. The piece includes roughly four tons of steel with hardened cutting edges. The piece won best of show honors in its division.

Turlock High welders entered eight pieces in the state fair in Sacramento, all winning first place in their events, Russell said. The projects include field-leveling orchard floaters and a drag scraper, a 1,000-gallon water tender, jump-on trailer and a ridger for tending levees.

The last is a project even city dwellers can appreciate, one of those amazing barbecues that just sizzle “block party.”

The Stanislaus County Fair usually has several of the massive grills to drool over. The fair opens in Turlock Friday for a 10-day run. Plenty of time for window shopping along the welder and woodworking exhibits, salivating over the chocolates, dreaming about the quilts, smelling the perfect roses and marveling at those weed-free gardens.

Exhibit envy ranks right up there with calorie ignoring as top fair pastimes. Among this year’s intriguing additions to fair fare, a deep-fried burger just might be worth a truly heroic calorie-ignoring effort.


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