West Rowan students steer tractors to school, embrace area’s farming heritage

Published 8:36 pm Friday, February 25, 2022

MT. ULLA – Most high schools couldn’t easily rally students to bring tractors to school, but West Rowan High is different.

In the middle of Rowan County’s farming center, the high school’s agriculture programs and FFA chapter have garnered state and national recognition. Enough students have farms in their families or work on farms that they were able to ride to school in style on Friday with pieces of heavy equipment.

West Rowan FFA President Madeline Kluttz, a senior, said the tradition started about a decade ago, but recently the day has scaled up as part of National FFA Week.

“It’s really to serve as a symbol of thanks, appreciation, hope and growth,” Kluttz said. “Really the thought of appreciation toward those farmers all across the globe and especially in our community.”

Kluttz said kids could technically drive a tractor to school any day, but it is fun to do it with a group of people and remains something unique about West.

“A lot of kids here, they live on farm, it’s in their blood,” Kluttz said, adding the practice also exposes other people, even their fellow students, to local agriculture.

Kluttz said West is unique because the community and administration are supportive of agriculture programs.

Macon Kluttz, Madeline’s twin brother, said it’s fun because there are kids at West Rowan who do not get to see this kind of equipment or know what it does.

“There’s kids around here that are going to make fun of it, but who cares,” Macon said.

He wants to stick with agriculture as a career because he worries about local farming dying.

“If we keep going it should stay for a good while,” Macon said. “If you don’t have food to eat then you’re done, that’s the end.”

Blake Moore, a junior, came to school on a tractor Friday as well. He works on a farm for his great uncle and started working there because he thought it would be a good experience.

He was given his pick of about 30 tractors on the farm to take to school. His dream is to become a mechanic who works on heavy equipment and big engines not unlike the tractor he rolled into the parking lot in.

“Everyone is kind of here together and shares a common interest,” Moore said.

Austin Moore, another junior, said he has been around farm equipment since he was born. So, he’s on tractors all the time. He wants to make farming his career too.

“It’s my community,” Moore said

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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