Fight to save agricultural class

ON Monday, Warwick State High School Year 10 student Emma Thompson will sit on the oval accompanied by a 900kg bull in a stand to save her beloved Agricultural Science program.

Along with her 37 other classmates, Emma is upset this may be her last year in the show ring because of a disagreement over the cattle.

“We were told the Droughtmaster cattle we use – which are supplied by a property near Rockhampton – have until Friday to be moved off (the school land),” she said.

“We can’t use them anymore and we were all meant to compete at the EKKA on Saturday.

“The students are so upset, some of us were crying as we’ve worked so hard and can’t believe it’s all going to be thrown away.

“It’s pathetic the school would do this one day before the EKKA and now 38 kids who do the course are missing out.”

Emma’s mum Cheryl said she felt great pride to see her daughter each time she entered the ring and competed in something she loved.

“Emma loved this course and it was one of the reasons why we chose WSHS,” Mrs Thompson said.

“She feels no one is listening to the students so Emma said she’ll sit at the school with the 900kg bull to get people to take notice if she had to.”

In a twist it was alleged WSHS wrote an email to the Banana property Cooper Downs which said the cattle were no longer wanted after a six-and-a-half year partnership with the property.

It was alleged the contract between WSHS and Cooper Downs was signed during March.

A source close to WSHS – who did not want to be identified – said 14 cattle were supplied to the school by the property “with little expense to the school”.

“They supplied feed, transportation and the nomination fees so the kids could compete at the EKKA,” the source said.

“It’s upsetting that little or no attempt was made to resolve any issues had. The only ones who lose are the kids.

“Every year the school gets a new batch of cattle to break in and get ready for showing. If something’s not done soon there’s a real chance the school won’t be in any cattle competitions next year.”

Previously WSHS students have excelled at cattle competitions with the school picking up Grand Champion Tropic Bull at the Gatton Show last week and a photograph of the Beef 2009 highly-decorated cattle team featured prominently on the school’s website.

Education Queensland Darling Downs and South West Queensland regional director Gregory Dickman confirmed Cooper Downs cattle “will no longer be used as part of the Agricultural Science” program at WSHS.

“A suitable contract between parties was not able to be agreed upon,” Mr Dickman said.

“However, cattle production and associated activities will continue to be a part of the Agricultural Science program at the school.

“WSHS continues to use a range of livestock as part of the Agricultural Science program, including cattle, sheep and goats.

“At this stage, the school has not acquired new stock but has been approached recently by successful local breeders.”



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