Students drink up fun, milk at Ag Night

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The first Ag Night held last week at the Punxsutawney Area High School cafeteria was quite a “moo-ving” experience for elementary students.

"This was the first Ag Night that was put on by the members of the
Punxsutawney Area High School Ag Club," said Chad Stiteler, PAHS technology education and woodworking teacher and Ag Club advisor.

Stiteler said the primary focus was on the dairy industry, which is the closest agriculture in the local area.

"It's the agriculture the kids see the most of," he said.

"There's a lot of promotional items for the dairy industry that we can give out to the kids to get them excited about drinking milk," Stiteler said, adding that Ag Night was for all K-3 elementary students in the
Punxsutawney Area School District.

"This was a chance for the kids to bring in their family and friends to learn more about the dairy industry," he said.

Stiteler said the Ag Club gave away door prizes and ice cream treats before the students headed for home.

Travis Monroe, Punxsutawney Area School District elementary principal, said just because the district is located in a rural area does not mean that all the kids know about farming.

"I don't think they do. Some of the statistics we're looking at (show) there are 614 million people in the United States, which is a lot of people to feed," Monroe said, adding that feeding a nation takes quite a bit of work.

"The average age of a farmer is 59 to 60 years of age," he said.
Monroe said that statistic was alarming, and the district wanted to promote the importance of farming and supporting local farming in our area.

It’s about "getting the kids to realize that food just doesn't appear on the table and the shelves of grocery stores without a lot of farming and technology," Monroe said, adding that Ag Night began with a promotion through the cafeteria to promote milk mustaches.

He said that Lesa Conner, Punxsutawney Area School Board member, presented the idea to the elementary department.

"We took it to the next level and added a lot of ideas to it with the milk mustaches, and we brought "Penny the Cow" from Harrisburg so the kids could learn how to milk a cow," Monroe said.

He said when the district held its Ag Day at the Dayton Fairgrounds, it had Penny over, and all of the kids were given the opportunity to milk the fake cow with working udders.

"With Penny, the kids are able to learn how to milk her and to see what it's like to stand beside a full-size cow without getting stepped on," he said.