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Build It Strong New Digs For Pigs
This summer there will be a whole bunch of happy, safe, contented hogs lounging around the Stanislaus County Fair, courtesy of a group of Riverbank High School students.

The students, part of instructor Jack Wool's FFA and Agriculture ROP class, were the first of approximately 10 high school programs in the county to complete their portion of a large steel pipe hog enclosure to be used at the fair this summer.

"The fair gave us old fencing panels," Wool said. "They had cyclone wiring on them that we had to remove, and the pipes were in twenty foot sections."

Wool said the students had to cut the pipes down to panel size, grind down the edges, and then weld them together.

The project began three weeks after school started and involved 17 students.

The finished project was quite a sight to behold. Stretching the length of the parking lot in front of the school's welding shop, the students crafted eight attached hog pens, all with swinging gates. All were uniform in appearance, and students were putting the final paint touch ups on the project this past week.

"We were the first of the ten schools involved in the project to complete the assignment," Wool said, a touch of pride for his students showing in his remarks.

Each pen will hold two hogs, and each of the 10 schools involved will make the same size pen, necessary for the large amount of hogs entered into the judging competition at the fair each year.

But it's not just the hogs that will be judged.

"There will be judges from the welding classes at Modesto Junior College as well as welding companies," Wool said, adding all the judges will be comparing the Riverbank High School entry against the other schools' entries.

"The kids will be able to go to the fair this summer and see how they did compared to the other schools," Wool pointed out.

Wool said some of the issues students faced were problem solving, layout, and design. He said the students were responsible for all aspects of the project, including all measurements and the cutting of pipes.

"And now we have a lot of experience," he said. "The project gave them the opportunity to learn to work with other students."

Two students, Nick Ayers and Tim Bonham, had experience with welding and working with some of the equipment, but said they had fun in the class and enjoyed working with other students.

"A lot of kids were using the equipment for the first time," Ayers noted.

Students in the class are Nicholas Ayers, Ana Belmontez, Diana Chavarria, Michael Dean, Hugo Calderon, Antonio Gutierrez, Saul Madrigal, Francisco Rivera, Nicholas Valdez, Irvin Carrillo, Anthony Jaramillo, Shane Rich, Shawn Roraback, Jr., David Stephens, Jose Tamayo, Andres Vargas, and Josi Appling.