Students Shine at Wingham Beef Week


Agricultural studies are difficult to fully grasp without the practical component and Wingham Beef Week provided the perfect opportunity for students at St Catherine’s Catholic college in Singleton to experience just that.

It has been two years since the event has been held and the students’ enthusiasm to attend the event was beyond excitement.

From May 16 to 20, 17 students threw themselves into the learning opportunities offered by the event.  They camped at the showground and enjoyed the social atmosphere but when it came to the competition’s parading and judging, it was far more serious.

Only three of the 17 students had experienced such an event and teacher Jo Towers was thrilled with their behaviour and the results.

The list of prizes included ribbons for second, fourth and fifith places.  Jaslin came fourth in the junior judging and Isaac Adamthwaite, Amelia Sternbeck and Jake Cook took out ribbons in the parading component of the competition.

Jaslin told The Hunter River Times she was extremely nervous giving her judging comments and all students were inspired by other students from schools across the State including Sydney.

“It was a little surprising how serious the competition was,” Isaac Adamthwaite said.

The School Steer Competition was a highlight for St Catherine’s.  The students have spent the past six months or so breaking in the British White and preparing it for Wingham and their efforts were rewarded with the Champion Live ribbon and reserve champion on the hook.

“We have a cattle team that competes at these events but this is the first time I have taken a class, many of whom haven’t experienced this before so they have done particularly well,” Jo said.

The competition also allows for the students to visit an abattoir to inspect the animal carcass on the hook which is a unique aspect to the Wingham event.

The students could see first hand the different in the carcass to grass and grain fed animals and they gained a far greater understanding of market specific requirements such as fat, colour and marbling.

There is now a stronger conversation in the households of the students regarding beef quality with Hayden Samuels suggesting he goes to the butchers with his mother now to help choose the meat.

The event is the end of the students’ unit on beef production and from all accounts, it was a wonderful culmination to their studies and for some, has further inspired their desire for a career in the beef industry.

Amelia Sternbeck is eyeing off a career in veterinary science working with large animals while agronomy is another avenue some students are considering.

Jo said participation in such events would not be possible without the ongoing support of families who have provided steers and heifers to the school for the students to prepare.

She particularly thanked the Ernst Family from Dehalyn Murray Greys and Ross Badior from Badior Beef.

Financial wins in the event are now being tallied and Jo has here eyes on a new tractor but there will have to be a whole lot more winnings and fund raising before that wish comes true.

Anyone with a spare $40,000 is welcome to contact the school.