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Warrior Goat Program 2013.JPG


The Warrior Goat Program started with just a few individual students at Ernest Righetti High School in 2014 and has expanded each year, starting with breeding our own goats in 2015. The purpose is to pair students and allow special education students the opportunity to raise, train and show an animal at the county fair. We were able to maintain much of our contact with students during the lockdown of 2020-2021 and are building the program back to full strength. Starting with keeping goats on donated space on local landowner property, the program was initiated to pair FFA students with peer partners in the Special Education program, particularly some of the high school students in self-contained learning environments who have limited classroom or social interactions with the mainstream population. Much of the resources during this first year were contributed by parents, students and teachers – money, time, and space included.


The program itself is a simple plan that can be replicated in almost any community. Special education students are paired with a mainstream FFA student who has experience with some level of animal husbandry and is willing to share his or her knowledge with a peer as mentor. The program teaches both students the complete life cycle of the goat, from breeding to auction at the local county fair each July. The experience is a win-win for both students as relationships are built, new skills are learned and collaboration, compassion, competition and camaraderie are maintained beyond the raising of a goat.


Both students learn and grow from this experience. Both students learn a new level of independence and responsibility from their work with the natural life cycle of the goat, the business of agriculture, and they are also adding to their own ability to work as part of a team to accomplish short and long term goals. They utilize that teamwork while cleaning stalls, feeding, breeding and teaching goats – every member has a purpose and job that they are responsible for performing. This stretches both of the students’ ability to relate to someone who is a little bit different from themselves and gives them space to build a personal and professional relationship that has the potential to be long-lasting. Students learn to be flexible and willing to solve problems together.


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