Woodbury FFA: New Season, New Projects, New Programs


One of the key spring activities among agriscience students has been fabricating machinery during a recent welding unit. Junior Evan Grieger practiced his welding skills on his own tractor.

Kevin Comerford, Ag/FFA Reporter

WOODBURY — Nonnewaug High School is known for its hands-on agricultural courses, but what have some of these students and the department been up to recently? 

A few events have been started within the last several weeks, including welding projects in junior/senior mechanics, a new indoor horse arena being built, and possibly new pole barns being put up will be started within the next month or so. A lot has been going on currently in the agricultural side of the school. 

“The horse arena has been the missing link for the horse management classes for decades,” says Ed Belinsky, Nonnewaug ag director. “It will finally open up opportunities for year-long learning and not be limited to warm-weather months.”

The construction of the new arena means that the current pole barns will have to be torn down and replaced. Classes have been cleaning out these pole barns to get them ready to be demolished in May and replaced with new ones.

“The building is also multi-purpose and will allow vet science students space for activities such as pet agility training and production class’s livestock showing,” Belinsky added.

“I think it would be nice to have an indoor arena,” says junior Kylieann Craine, an equine science student. “Especially during the winter, it would make it easier to work with the horses.” 

The construction of new pole barns will offer a variety of functions for students. For example, half of one of the barn spaces will be dedicated to a sugar shack for making maple syrup. The rest of them will be used for storage of the landscaping class mowers as well as extra storage for the tractors that aren’t always used. 

“In addition to the horse barn, the project includes the construction and replacement of the existing pole barns and sugar house at the end of the parking lot,” says Belinsky. “The storage buildings will be roughly twice as big as the existing structures.”

Both of these structures were designed by a group of teachers in 2015 and local industry professionals in a group named Ellis Clark Regional Advisory Committee. 

Although this is a big step for Nonnewaug, smaller yet equally important projects and events have been started, too. 

An upcoming event will be giving people’s pets shots at the rabies clinic at Nonnewaug on May 13 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Vaccines will include a one- or three-year vaccination for dogs and a one-year vaccination for cats, as long as proof of previous vaccinations are presented at the time. During the same time period, visitors can also purchase plants and flowers at the FFA Spring Plant Sale. 

As for more projects at Nonnewaug, ag mechanics students have recently started their welding projects varying from back racks for trucks to weight brackets for tractors, all kinds of things were built by these students. 

“I liked being able to pick my project,” said Alex Uscilla, a mechanics student. “I could do what I needed to that’ll benefit myself.” 

Time flies in mechanics class as students learn hands-on skills that are often directly applied to student interests. 

“I wish I had time to make an excavator thumb for my business also,” Uscilla added when discussing the range of options offered within the welding unit of NHS’ agricultural mechanics course.  

Although there were some limitations on what students could bring in for this current welding project — for example, no cars are allowed — Evan Grieger brought in his tractor, a passion project that was allowed. 

“I think Grieger had the best project because it was the biggest,” Uscilla said. 

 “I made a weight bracket for one of my Farmalls,” said Grieger, “just so I can weigh it down some more for the [tractor] pulls this fall [for fair season].”

From new construction to innovative classes to community events, NHS’ agriscience program is always abuzz with spring updates.