Seymour Begins Classes in New Food Science Lab

by Clay Brown | Apr 30, 2019
SEYMOUR, Ind – Seymour High School students recently began classes in the newly finished Food Science lab at the school’s agriculture science and research farm facility in Freeman Field.

The facility comes from the ideas of several individuals and the Seymour Ag Advisory Board and started gaining momentum four years ago when Micah Wallace was hired to start a middle school program. The 140 acres owned by the school corporation was envisioned to be an extension of a regular classroom. The former superintendent, Robert Hooker, was a driving force behind developing the program.

“I wanted to offer more of a diversified program at Seymour,” said agriculture teacher Jeanna Eppley. “Our Ag Advisory Board wanted to see us utilize this asset with students learning in the field.”

The building houses classrooms, the food science lab, a plant and animal science lab, welding labs and a large shop area for instruction on farm machinery.

The new facility is expected to peak the interest of more students and potentially see students in agricultural and technological based classes that typically would not be.

“We are now able to open up our curriculum and do applied activities that may captivate an audience a little more,” said Eppley. “Maybe even captivate that student’s interest enough to pursue a career or further education in a specific field. I think it introduces them to more depth and complexity of the subject.”

The classes taught in the building are hands on, procedure based classes that require little lecture time, but require the students ability to follow instructions and solve problems.

“With the food science lab, we are creating students who can follow instructions, problem solve,” said Eppley. “Not only does that prepare them for science or chemistry in college, but it also prepares them for jobs that are here right out of high school.”

Micah Wallace is in her third year as Food Science teacher at Seymour High School.

Previously, the Food Science Lab was housed in an agricultural mechanics shop at the high school. While the shop had plenty of space overall, counter space and electrical outlets were limited.

“That previous space that was not necessarily equipped for food science,” said Wallace. “It took a lot of extra planning and hard work. We had to work around other teacher’s schedules in order to use equipment that wasn’t available in the shop.”

The new facility in Freeman Field now offers more space and has all necessary equipment.

“Now, in the new facility, we can do any project we want, whenever we want,” said Wallace. “We have much more storage space and all the equipment we need. We are really blessed to have this facility.”

At the new Food Science lab, students have access to their own lab station with stainless steel tables and outlets that drop down from the ceiling. Ovens with a ventilation hood, a food grade refrigerator and pantry, a washer and dryer and additional storage are also all available in the lab.

Wallace sees Food Science more than just a high school class, but also an opportunity for students to find out about careers they didn’t know exist.

“A lot more consumers want to know where their food comes from and how it got there,” said Wallace. “This class will not only help the students understand that, but it will also open their eyes to the numerous possibilities that are available in the food industry.”

The facility also doubles as a community event center.

“We wanted the ag community and other community groups to benefit from this,” said Eppley.

Wright Implement, 4-H, and District FFA functions have all utilized various aspects of the research farm. The facility has an ice machine and stainless steel kitchenware for caterers to use.

Seymour High School also uses the facility to give tours to other schools and their agricultural programs. The most commonly asked question is how the school was able to obtain all of the technology and equipment in the building.

“You don’t just get this stuff anywhere,” said Eppley. “You have to find creative ways and obtain support from the community, like Rose Acre who helped fund the Food Science Lab. Not all school corporations could do something like this.”

A donation from Rose Acre Farms in 2018 helped finish furnishing the Food Science Lab.

The new agriculture science and research farm is expected to have a busy 2019-2020 school year.

“We have plans to utilize this building 100% everyday,” said Eppley. “As we, as a society push toward careers in technical education, career readiness and employability skills, I foresee us really pushing for preparation for those careers and technical areas through our program.”

Even though these are classes for high school students, they are being prepared for something much greater.

“We’re preparing kids for college and careers,” said Eppley. “Not just college. Not just careers. I believe working with local businesses and gaining their input is a very important aspect of that. We as educators need to make sure we are producing graduates that are going in the right direction to serve business in Jackson County.”

In addition to Food Science, the facility will be home to Plant and Soil Science, Animal Science and Welding. Eppley will also be able to provide lessons on how to drive a tractor and utilize equipment on the farm through the plant and soil science class.

Seymour High School is the only high school in Indiana with this size and type of facility.

Rose AcreTM Recipe of the Month

Saint Nick's Eggnog

  • 6 large EGGS
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 12 cinnamon sticks for garnish
  1. BEAT eggs, sugar and salt in large heavy saucepan until blended. STIR IN 2 cups milk.
  2. COOK over low heat, stirring constantly but gently, until mixture is just thick enough to just coat a metal spoon with a thin film and temperature reaches 160°F, about 15 minutes. Do not allow to boil. REMOVE from heat immediately.
  3. STIR IN remaining 2 cups milk and vanilla. REFRIGERATE, covered, until thoroughly chilled, several hours or overnight. 
"This is the day which the Lord has made, Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalms 118:24