School Zone: Crosswalks, Robots, and Agriculture
VIBORG, S.D. – A small district with big opportunities.
That’s what the Viborg-Hurley School District prides itself on. The district is home to roughly 300 students, but what they lack in size, they make up for in academic variety.
The district has placed an emphasis on robotics in each school. The program starts in elementary, and continues through high school. Middle School Science Teacher Jena Campbell says the courses teach students more than just programming a robot. “Robotics are an important skill. You can teach a variety of things. You can do critical thinking, problem solving, how to get along in a group, which is also an important skill, and how to communicate with your other students. If you disagree, how are we going to work through that to produce your product,” said Campbell.
Revitalized shop and agriculture programs have also curved high school student’s interest in a potential career in those fields. Both of the programs curriculum, taught by instructor Nathan Knutson, aim to give students real world experience and hands-on experience.
“Some of the things I wanted to implement here was getting into the shop. Using more of the plasma cam, welders, doing more ag-structured class, and trying to get kids into the real-life situations that they can get themselves into, once they get to college. Stuff like that,” said Knutson.
Finally, one thing the district takes pride in, is the strength of the community as a whole. Chris Richards serves as a shining example. The entrance to the high school crosses a busy highway. Each morning for the last four months, Richards has stood outside making sure students cross the street safely. Rain, snow, hail, or shine, he’s been out there. Chris says he saw a need, and met it.
“I was talking to a parent at a basketball game and they mentioned that there hadn’t been anybody out here. Well it got cold and the student volunteers were not that interested in being out here in the cold. I understand that, and you know the staff would be out here when they could, but they’ve got things they’ve got to be doing inside. There was just a need.”