Anson Middle School teacher Casey Howie is taking a hands-on approach when teaching the children in her class about agriculture. She has arranged for the children to interact with various animals, including chickens and rabbits. On Nov. 16 her stepfather, Todd Dennis, brought two horses from Mt. Pleasant for the children to meet.
By the end of the day, at least 112 children had the opportunity to pet and feed the horses while listening to Dennis instruct them on basic care for horses. “They’re excited to come to class, and that’s the whole point,” Howie said of the class as the children interacted with the horses. “When the kids are excited, I’m excited — it’s not even like a work day.”
Howie added that the children had known the horses would be coming and had been looking forward to it for a while.
Even some students who were initially afraid of the animals were soon at the front of the crowd stroking the horses. “One of the biggest things is getting the kids to not be afraid of animals,” Howie said. “I wasn’t expecting them to be afraid of a cute, cuddly bunny. I can understand the horses. But a lot of my students don’t even have pets at home.”
Howie’s efforts to teach her students about agriculture have included getting demonstrations from locals including Jeff Boothby, who spoke on chickens and eggs, Howie with her own rabbits, and Dennis, who brought two mares, Jolene and Bella, to the AMS parking lot. Hunter Medford, a 14-year-old homeschooler, assisted Dennis with showing the horses at AMS.
The children also watched “Buck,” a 2011 documentary about “horse whisperer” Buck Brannaman. Several children listed Buck as a hero and complimented Dennis by comparing him to their newfound hero.
Introducing the students to agriculture, especially in their community, is the whole point of Howie’s class. This is Howie’s first year of teaching, her first time in Anson County and the first time this particular curriculum has been taught at AMS, according to Howie.
Despite that, many of the children expressed an interest in creating a petition to stay in Howie’s class rather than transferring to another class later this school year. “I think I speak for all us us when I say Ms. Howie is the best teacher in the world,” student Tremelle Pratt said.