School Bulletin: Studying agriculture in the heart of the city

School Bulletin: Studying agriculture in the heart of the city

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- One student at Vincent High School of Agricultural Sciences seems to have the magic touch. Akol Riak, a junior, has made friends with a cockatiel named Oliver, and the bird, which was donated to the Milwaukee school, doesn't go freely to just anyone.

"I started off with the little birds, and they were parakeets," Riak says. "At first, they didn't mess with me. I had to spend time with them. Then I bonded, and then they were just able to be chill with me."

The birds are just a few of the animals you'll find at Vincent High School. There's an entire barn dedicated to sheep, goats and more. Animal science is just option of study.

"Learning isn't just about the classroom. It's about hands-on learning," Tyler Foote, an agribusiness instructor, says.

Foote explains there are six pathways: agribusiness and entrepreneurship, animal science, culinary arts, environmental science, food science and horticulture. The students spend at least six weeks exploring each pathway. Then internships during their final year allow the students to dive deeper into their interests, get individual instruction and gain more hands-on experience. They can work in the greenhouse, café or even the school's marketplace. But as Foote says, the goals for Vincent's students are the same as any other Milwaukee Public Schools institution.

"We're teaching these 21st century skills that students can take with them for the rest of their lives —the initiative, communication, problem solving and digital literacy," Foote says.

As for Riak, he says he is focused on graduation, and while he might have a gift with animals, he thinks he will pursue business.

"It makes me just want to do better for myself every single day that I do come in here," Riak says. "I just want to be the best I can be."

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