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Hats On, Ag Days Raise Student Awareness
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On Oct. 22, Oakdale elementary students woke up in the morning and put on their cowboy boots and their favorite hats.

Cloverland and Fair Oaks elementary schools both held their annual Ag Day Roundup event to raise students’ awareness about agriculture. The same day, Cloverland also held Hats On Day, a fundraiser for a children’s cancer charity. (See photos, Page A2.)

“We just decided to combine it with Ag Day because we (were) also doing a special spirit/dress-up day that day – Cowboy/Farmer Day,” said Cloverland second grade teacher Shelley Cuenca. “Kids can wear western (or) cowboy clothes or farmer clothes, which often includes a hat.”

Students didn’t just wear cowboy hats to show their Ag Day spirit and support of Hats On Day, they also wore ball caps, fedoras, even some crazy hats such as Dr. Seuss hats. Though the focus that day was the agricultural education, the many students wearing hats served as part of the backdrop.

“Our students (were) encouraged to donate $1 and they (got) a special ‘Hats On Day’ sticker and the privilege of wearing their hat all day. Students will feel good and have a smile in their hearts knowing they have helped kids with cancer,” Cuenca said. “…They get to wear their hats all day — even in class — if they make a donation.”

Cloverland began participating in Hats On Day in 2006. Last year they collected just over $370 for the Foundation for Children with Cancer, which helps support families of children who have been diagnosed with cancer. This year, Cloverland’s goal was to raise $500. At press time, Cuenca reported the total was at $475 with two more classrooms’ donations to be counted.

Cuenca added that October has been a busy month with a furlough day, end of the trimester assessments, Ag Day, Red Ribbon Week, and Book Fair, so they wanted to combine as much as they could.

Cloverland teacher Sue Moran and Fair Oaks teacher Megan Reisz coordinated their respective Ag Day events. This is the third year for Ag Day events at the two schools, but Ag Day has been happening in Oakdale elementary schools for several years. It first began at Magnolia Elementary School, where it was led for several years by teachers Diane Dickson and Nancy Osmundson, to help students understand the importance of agriculture in their everyday lives and to create more awareness. Then Sierra View got on board and held its event the same day as Magnolia’s. Since there is so much coordination involved with Ag Day, the schools work together to hold their events once a year on the same day. Two schools hold it in the spring, and two in the fall.

“The students get to see animals and some them have never been to a farm,” Moran said. “They learn about food and where it comes from, milk and where it comes from… They learn about planting, poultry, both eggs and meat.”

She added that it’s important to expose students to agriculture and ag-related careers because the Oakdale area is so reliant on agriculture.

Multiple-time Ag Day presenters Diana Walsh and Lorrayne Ripley wore period dress and talked to students about the history of quilting, including the secret codes that were built into them to aid in the efforts of The Underground Railroad, how quilts are used, and how they’re done differently today. They also helped students make quilt bookmarks.

“We enjoy this, it’s fun,” Walsh said. “And the kids, they’re always so excited, they’re little sponges.”

There were also many other types of presenters at each school from bee keepers to veterinarians, brand inspectors, livestock breeders, 4-H clubs, plant and bug “doctors,” farm bureau representatives, dairy princesses, crop farmers, fiber producers, cheese makers, and more.