Only on a Thursday in Homedale

John Lejardi rumbled down the streets of Homedale with a practiced ease on Thursday morning, thousands of pounds of metal reverberating under his seat.

No sweat for Lejardi, who says he was probably six or seven the first time he took the wheel from a tractor seat.

Now a high school freshman, Lejardi swung his John Deere behind Homedale High and reversed neatly into a parking space in front of the school Ag Shop. Piece of cake.

Thursday was Drive Your Tractor To School Day for Homedale’s Future Farmers of America chapter, a group some 60-kids strong at the 350-student school.

Usually, Homedale students celebrate on National Agriculture Day — March 14, senior Kyle Rupp said.

This year, the group pushed it back a bit, in the hopes they could align the event with a farm-safety day organized with younger kids in the district, FFA Advisor Rachel Rheuby said. That didn’t quite work out. On Thursday, three of the FFA boys rode their John Deere’s into town anyway.

“I finished planting the field of corn last night so I could bring it,” junior Weston Dorsey said.

Homedale Senior Kyle Rupp poses for a portrait in front of his tractor on Drive Your Tractor To School day at Homedale High school.

The small show of “Ag Pride” seemed a fitting start to the end of the week at four-day Homedale High.

With only weeks left until the end of the school year, students inside the Ag shop, turned woodshop, turned floral shop, turned classroom (and more) dove into projects.

In Rheuby’s animal science class, students spent their last day measuring, weighing and testing the intelligence of male mice.

From Left to right: Michael Martinez, Alvaro Villa and Lisandro Chavez watch mice Pablo and Spaz in a maze. “He’s calm,” Villa said of his black mouse, Pablo. “He doesn’t run really fast like the other one.”
Mice Pablo and Spaz navigate a maze students built for their first-period animal science class at Homedale High School
Juniors Savana Buckley and Amaya Beckman watch their lab mouse “Gus Gus Templeton Buckley-Beckman” in animal science class. During the course of experimenting the pair learned Gus Gus is afraid of heights. He will scurry around the top of his cage, but he won’t jump down.

In a food-science class, students came up with a marketing plan for reimagined soft pretzels. And in woodshop — taught by FFA Advisor Logan Kotar — kids worked on personal projects, making cutting boards and flower boxes and a lawn-chair for auction.

Kari Woods was designing replacement parts for an antique table, a family heirloom she hoped to repair.

The table was Wood’s great-grandfather’s, she said: “My dad, it really means a lot to him.”

All in a Thursday morning at Homedale High.

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