PLATTSMOUTH – For about 75 years now, the Rotary Club of Plattsmouth has held a special day in recognition of area farmers.
Roger Wehrbein, a member, certainly participated.
“I’ve been doing it for about 40 years.”
This year’s Farmers’ Day, held last week, was different than in the past, according to Wehrbein. Instead of holding the event in their usual downtown meeting hall, the approximately 50 Rotarians and farmers visited the new vocational and technical education center at Plattsmouth High School.
They were joined by FFA students from the school, as well as those from Conestoga High School.
“It was a way to get to know the agriculture students,” Wehrbein said.
After lunch, the group learned about the school’s culinary arts program. The Culinary Foods/Pro Start I course is designed for students interested in the food service or hospitality and hospitality fields, according to Dr. Richard Hasty, superintendent of Plattsmouth Community Schools.
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Students are trained in basic techniques used in the culinary industry developed by the National Restaurant Association. Special projects run by the PHS Bake Shoppe include a food service, mini-restaurants and off-class events, Hasty said.
The Culinary Foods/Pro Start II course focuses on more in-depth culinary projects, as well as the possibility of competitive activities.
The Foods and Nutrition I course focuses on nutrition and wellness practices, safety and sanitation, food choices for individuals and families throughout the life cycle, according to Hasty.
Instruction addresses nutrition and food science from the perspective of eating habits and wellness, menu planning, special dietary needs, food costing and budgeting, safety procedures and food sanitation, food labels, technological implications, food handling, storage and preparation practices. Meal etiquette, career options and techniques for managing multiple family worker roles are also part of the content.
Foods and Nutrition II is a course that focuses on advanced nutritional studies and food preparation skills. The course will provide students with knowledge and skills in food preparation, safety and hygiene, and serving through cultural and ethnic foods.
The group then visited the school’s drawing class. According to Hasty, students taking this course will be introduced to mechanical drawing. Students will learn about the different careers in the drafting/architectural industry, the manufacturing process and how mechanical drafting fits into it. Students will gain experience using hand drafting tools and learn computer drafting techniques using Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk AutoCAD.
The Autotech program followed on the tour, where students learn the basics of auto mechanics. They are involved in various aspects of the automobile, such as air conditioning, exhaust, oil changes, brakes and tune-ups, as well as engine repair. This is a hands-on, theory and problem-solving course all rolled into one.
Students will learn all aspects of car ownership, from insurance, ownership and basic operation to fluids and changing a tire. Students will also be involved in learning about the many careers in the automotive industry, from car loans to retail.
Students enrolled in the Diesel Technology course will receive a hands-on approach to working on highway trucks, as well as classroom training in diesel engines and technology. They will use class theory by working on semi-finals.
Students enrolled in the Small Engines course will be involved in the theory and operation of small engines. They will disassemble a small four-stroke engine and reassemble the engine to run.
The final third of the class will be devoted to students working on their personal two-stroke and four-stroke engines, from personal watercraft to four-wheelers and chainsaws. Students will have the skills needed to enter the job market or have more than enough experience to enter a technical college.
Tour participants then learned more about the school’s Welding/Metals and Fabrication program. The Welding I course is designed for all levels of students who wish to acquire skills and an understanding of all aspects of welding. Students enrolled in this course will become proficient in TIG welding, as well as vertical welding using TIG, ARC and MIG.
Students will develop their welding skills II. Additionally, there is a year-long course that focuses on blueprint reading and creating blueprints for projects. Students will create a metals project that they design and create a blueprint for.
The final leg of the tour was for the Woods/Construction program. The Woods I course teaches students to better understand the different career paths in the woodworking and construction industry.
They will also learn different woodworking techniques, how to plan a project, and how to properly and safely use all hand and power tools in the wood lab to create a product.
Woods II teaches students projects such as building a cabinet, creating sliding drawers and hinged doors, creating face frames and finishing work, and more advanced power tool techniques.
The Home Systems class exposes students to all facets of home building using a hands-on approach to construction. Students will start by building a foundation, floor, walls with windows and doors, rafters and roofing, plumbing, electrical and possibly some offsite work, Hasty said.
Although not part of last week’s tour, the school’s agriculture program at the nearby Plattsmouth University, Curriculum and Equipment Complex teaches students subjects such as an introduction to agriculture, animal science, pets, large animal management, natural resources, nursery and landscape, plant science. , and wildlife management.
According to Hasty, there are currently 95 students in culinary arts, 15 in design, 49 in auto/diesel/small engines, 43 in welding/metals and manufacturing, 25 in wood/construction and 67 in agriculture.
This new addition to the school cost about $6.5 million, Hasty said.
“I was happy,” Wehrbein said of the tour. “I think it went well.”