Holy cow! Special calf born on Good Friday highlights the Longhorn Project

It wasn’t just a Good Friday … it was a great Friday for Johnson Space Center on April 6, when a cherubic calf named Lucky Charms made her debut into world. Proud mama Honey Nut Cheerio had impeccable timing, for the center was quieter than normal for the holiday weekend—and the students working with the Clear Creek Independent School District (CCISD) Longhorn Project were not around.

The cooperative education partnership between CCISD and JSC has been in existence for years, fostering independence, increased responsibility and further knowledge in agricultural and environmental sciences for the kids involved. Each high school student participating in the project nurtures and raises a Longhorn during the year, and even has the opportunity to show it at statewide livestock shows such as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

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Lucky Charms can be considered a extra bonus for the student involved, as some kids are able to choose heifers from the Longhorn breeder that had been previously mated—kind of like a two-for-one deal if the stars align.

CCISD’s Center for Agriculture, Science and Engineering (CASE) Project Manager Jennifer Emshoff-Edenfield believes that raising the Longhorns instills a sense of responsibility that regular schooling cannot offer. And with the “No Pass, No Play” regulation that also applies to after-school programs such as the Longhorn Project, it encourages high school pupils to mind their grades—or risk not being able to show the animals they have worked with all year long.

Emshoff-Edenfield has high hopes for CCISD’s CASE program and the Longhorn Project.

“I think it has a lot of room to grow,” Emshoff-Edenfield said. “I want to pull in more of the environmental aspects into the program, as well as the engineering side, by working more closely with NASA Education.”

Though the school year is winding down, next year will cultivate more teamwork and opportunities—and perhaps even more spring babies.

Catherine Ragin Williams
Johnson Space Center, Houston

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