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Waller County Fair Wrangles Barnyard Buddies

October 3, the Waller County Fair opened its gates for the 4th Annual Barnyard Buddies event, which is designed to give elementary, middle, and high school special education students an opportunity to learn about agriculture and livestock while enjoying all that the county fair has to offer.

Experienced high school Future Farmers of America (FFA), Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), and Texas Association of Future Educators (TAFE) students volunteer to serve as “buddies” and help guide activities of the day that include the petting zoo, pony rides, a photo booth, noodle horse rides, and roping skills. At the end, all enjoy a few carnival rides. Photo of Waller ISD student roping with their Barnyard Buddy

“Julie Abke and myself began this tradition because we wanted Special Education students to have a chance to enjoy the fair without distraction,” said Waller High School (WHS) Teacher and FFA Advisor Barbie Schmidt.

Now in its fourth year, the program has expanded to students in other Waller County districts including Hempstead ISD. More than 375 students participated.

“This event gets bigger every year and our students love it,” WHS Principal Stephanie Fletcher said. “It is a great teaching and learning opportunity for all who participate.”