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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

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Southington Looks for Guidance from Nonnewaug’s Ag Production Class

Southington students had the freedom to choose seasonings for the chicken they ground during a visit to NHS campus. These three students poured a mix of seasonings into the meat before the sausage casing process. (Courtesy of Molly Allard)

WOODBURY — Nonnewaug High School is no stranger to helping out other schools. In early January, Southington High School’s agriculture program reached out to surrounding vocational agricultural schools looking for help in teaching meat science.

With little hesitation, Nonnewaug agricultural production instructor Kathleen Gorman responded to the request.

“I got a text on one of the forums for ag teachers asking for help teaching a class about meat science and sausage making,” said Gorman. “So I reached out to her and said that my guys do it all the time; it’s like second nature to them.”

Nonnewaug ag production students Haley Sarandrea, center, and Lily Mizak, right, teach Southington students how to utilize a meat grinder. Mizak and Sarandrea enforced the importance of food safety while handling raw meat. (Courtesy of Molly Allard)

“I don’t have the background that Ms. Gorman and [her students] have been taught,” said Molly Allard, Southington’s ag production teacher. “It’s nice to learn from you guys and get a whole idea of what sausage making looks like. This is a great experience because then its students teaching students and we can learn meat processing steps that I don’t know much about. It’s helped me and it helps them [the Southington students].”

Nobody knows food science like Gorman and her students.  

With an abundance of class time spent in the food lab, she is confident that Nonnewaug is a suitable school to educate Southington’s program. Gorman was also in favor of letting students visit because it gave her own students an opportunity to display what they have learned in their food safety and science unit.

“Allowing my students to be the leaders and allowing my students the opportunity to show what they know teaches them to be grateful for what they have,” says Gorman. “It really shows that every program is different and every experience is different. I also think it’s great for the students to showcase your skills and showcase a skill that they have that others might not have.  They get to be knowledgeable ones.”

“I think what we did was really good,” said senior Katie Alexander. “We got to show other students what we have learned this year. It was really exciting. We made sausage before for an open house, and now we got to show Southington High School as well.” 

Southington students were able to watch a live demonstration of how Nonnewaug makes their sausage. During the instruction, the visiting students also got to interact with the process and got to break down cuts of chicken, grind meat, make sausage links, and other hands-on activities.  

Even though Nonnewaug lab settings are different from those at Southington, the visiting students were excited to try new things.

“It was fun learning how [sausage] is made with pig intestines and how it’s important to keep your gloves wet. We have similar curriculum and program classes, but our labs are different,” said a student from Southington High School’s production class. “It was nice seeing all the bigger labs and to learn what [Nonnewaug students] do. Our school has smaller animals, but [Nonnewaug] has more of a variety and that’s nice to see.”

The students from Southington also got a look into the other parts of Nonnewaug’s whole program. Some production students took groups of guests around different areas of Nonnewaug. 

“They had many comments about our school,” said Nonnewaug ag production student Ashlynn Graziano. “They said how much they liked it and how large our program was. They found our program to be very immersive and said it was very hands-on here for the students.”

This event had clear benefits for both programs. While Nonnewaug pulled this demonstration together on short notice, it ended up being very helpful to everyone involved.

“The experience for the students visiting is amazing because they got to see a fully functioning education farm and land lab and all the opportunities,” said Gorman. “But I also think it’s great for my students to showcase their skills and showcase something that they have that others might not have.”

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About the Contributors
Brianna Johnson is a junior in her first year of being a reporter for the Nonnewaug Chief Advocate. She is an ag student who's interested in agricultural production. When she is not reporting on the latest news, she enjoys riding quads, working with cows, and socializing with her friends. She hopes to become a women's health nurse practitioner. Brianna is excited to be involved in sharing the details of the latest local news.
Grace Nelson '25, Reporter
Grace Nelson is a junior at Nonnewaug High School. She is a first-year reporter for the Nonnewaug Chief Advocate. She is from Woodbury and is a part of the agriscience program. Currently, she is interested in animal production within the ag program. When she is not busy writing for the Chief Advocate, she enjoys hanging out with friends and working. Being a first-year writer, she is interested in writing about sports and upcoming events happening at Nonnewaug.
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