Tamnamoney Texels recently went back to school to present jackets to the members of the Dalriada Grammar School Agriculture Club.
Dalriada Grammar School Agriculture Club has been up and running for two years under the direction of teacher Mr David Hodges and with the support of principal Mr Tom Skelton.
Mr Hodges joined the school as a member of staff in 2015 and as a past pupil recalls how he always wanted an Agriculture Club when he was at school. The club has grown from strength to strength with approximately 40 pupils registered, ranging right through from year 8 to 14. The club prepares the members to develop their leadership skills with nominated roles of President and Vice President which are currently undertaken by Colin Henry and Mark Faulkner.
Mr Hodges believes the club gives pupils the opportunity for “promoting agriculture in the School and allows other non–farmers to see what the farming community does for our society”.
The Club was initially established to cater for all the young farmers in the school and to support promotion of agriculture itself, with interest now extended beyond those pupils from a farming background.
“The Club provides a huge benefit for those pupils who are actually studying agriculture as a subject to GCSE or “A” level as they get a lot of practical field trips through club membership,” comments David. David equally believes the club gives a real positive aspect on friendships in the school between young farmers, a culture fully supported by principal Tom Skelton. In addition, the Club provides pupils with an opportunity to meet to discuss common farming interests and agricultural politics. Mr Hodges argues that another value of the club is that it has “broadened the learning opportunities for these pupils providing them with opportunity to have experienced talks from experts from outside the school”.
Local pedigree Texel breeder Roger Strawbridge of the well-known Tamnamoney Flock was approached by the Club to provide joint sponsorship to support the purchase of jackets for the club members. Farming on the outskirts of Coleraine, Roger’s Tamnamoney Flock has been connected to the highest standards of pedigree Texel breeding locally and across in mainland UK for more than 25 years. Daughter Ivanna, a year 8 pupil of Dalriada School and member of the school’s Agriculture Club was involved in designing coats for the Club with the rest of the members all taking part.
Roger encourages Ivanna’s contribution and membership of the club, believing that the club is one way of keeping the farming spirit alive among young people in Northern Ireland.