The “Cream of the Crop”

The Governor’s School for Agriculture at Virginia Tech is a month long summer educational program for gifted high school students across Virginia. In order to make the program run smoothly, there are 10 Governor School Leaders (nicknamed GSL’s) who are in charge of all of the students. Featured in this blog are two beloved GSL’s, Ryan Amaral and Joyce Kuo, a power team known as “Royce”!

                         Ryan Amaral                                           Joyce Kuo

  Ryan Amaral didn’t come to Governor’s School for Agriculture as a student, but when Adam asked him to be a GSL he agreed because it matched up with his interests. If he were to be in Governor’s School, though, his interest would be in Plant Science or Economics. Unlike some of the other GSLs, he has a background in agriculture — he grew up on almond farm, or “amand” farm, as he calls it, and raised animals for 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA). His undergraduate degree is in Agricultural Business, and he is currently working on his Masters in Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education.

Despite his wide experience with agriculture, though, one of his favorite parts about Governor’s School is learning about new aspects of the subject that he’s not as familiar with, such as food safety. He also loves meeting the students here, who he says are friendly, energetic, and accepting.

Ryan’s favorite thing about being a GSL is being around the students. He says it makes up for the long work days, which can be tough because it’s hard to balance spending time with people and sleeping. At least he can catch up on his sleep on his days off, which he says is also when he eats at anywhere other than D2 to make up for having meals there every other day.

Ryan is on Level 14 for the Red Valor team in Pokemon Go, and he is an avid player, saying “gotta catch em all!”

Joyce is a very interesting GSL because she goes to the University of Virginia, but decided to spend her summer at Virginia Tech, UVA’s rival school. The reason Joyce applied to be a GSL was because she attended the program herself when she was in high school and really wanted to come back. Although Joyce has no agricultural background, one of her former counselors suggested for her to apply so she could experience the other side of the program.

Joyce’s favorite thing about being a GSL is getting to know and spend time with all of the kids. She really appreciates how nice everyone is and not “cliquey” because when she was here everyone formed groups and was exclusive. Joyce explained how it can be difficult as a GSL dealing with unexpected circumstances, but in the end it’s worth being with such a great group of students.

Due to the fact that Joyce just finished her first year at UVA and was forced to eat in their dining halls, she completely loves D2 food. UVA is not known for having great quality food so she is thankful for all the options D2 has to offer.

Just like Ryan, Joyce loves to play Pokemon Go, but she is not that devoted because she doesn’t have enough time to wander around campus. Even though Ryan is on level 14 and Joyce is on level 8, they can still be found playing together!

 About the Authors:

Emme Seale is an intelligent, outgoing, and creative student in Virginia Tech’s Governor’s School for Agriculture. Emme is a very active leader in Young Life, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, in her church, and is always looking for new leadership opportunities. Her interest and passion for leadership prompted her to interview the governor school leaders to find out about their lives.

Delaney Madden is an enthusiastic student who loves to help others. When she’s not giving her teammates tips at field hockey, basketball, or track practice, she leads her school’s Key Club to serve her community. She loves to learn new things, especially about other people.

Got Milk?

Rich, creamy, delicious, refreshing.

Four words that can only be used to describe one thing- chocolate milk. Virginia Tech students agree that this heavenly beverage found at D2 is one of the campus’s most prized possessions.

It’s not only the taste that attracts students to this milky goodness. The true pride lies in the fact that it’s directly from Kentland Farm, making it all the more special. While the D2 dining hall also offers drinks such as soda and juice, the supply for the milk is always running low.

While waiting in line, many students question what makes the chocolate milk so good. We interviewed Vy Nguyen, a governor’s school student who is one of many fans.

Interviewer: Have you tried the chocolate milk from D2?

Vy: Yes, I have!

Interviewer: How do you feel about the chocolate milk?

Vy: I love it, it’s the best thing I’ve ever had.

Interviewer: Why do you say that?

Vy: Well, it’s really thick, creamy, and chocolatey. I know some people don’t like the super sweet taste that comes with it, but I love it.

Interviewer: After taking a class on dairy science, did you gain more appreciation for the chocolate milk here on campus?

Vy: Definitely, especially because I found out it was produced here at Virginia Tech – which explains the fresh taste. It’s pretty cool to think that just a few days ago, the milk was just coming out of the udders, and now I’m drinking it.

Interviewer: I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for your time, Vy!

Vy: Thank you!

Governor’s school students have been able to learn more about the process of how cows make milk and the techniques used to make it safe to drink. Through learning about the mammary gland and how the blood flow in cows helps provide the necessary nutrients, we have become better educated consumers. For example, prior to the lecture, it could be assumed that most of the governor’s school students were aware that the majority of milk is water, at 87.4%. However, the fact that lactose, one of the milk solids, is the second most common component of milk, is something that most students had not realized.

Even though most people drink every day, and the science behind it has always been available to us, learning the process of how milk is produced is new knowledge for governor’s school students. And with this knowledge, we have gained a better appreciation for the milk.

While the two-ingredient beverage may seem so simple, the background knowledge that the governor’s students have acquired from dairy science classes has granted a new level of appreciation. From learning about the composition of milk, physiology of milk synthesis, and local raised dairy, Virginia Tech has surely offered the true “farm to table” experience.

So the next time you find yourself at a D2, be sure to grab yourself a glass of chocolate milk and rest easy knowing that you’re drinking a local farm-raised and student-praised treasure.

About the Authors:

Sophia Kane is a cellist, cross country runner, and chocolate milk enthusiast. She is a rising senior at Monticello High School, located in Charlottesville, Virginia, and is currently attending Governor’s School for Agriculture.

Rebecca Woodhouse is a rising junior, raised in Northern Virginia. As an avid runner, she loves to spend time outside and with friends. However, she also loves cooking and eating tasty food. She is excited to be spending time at Virginia Tech this summer, not only to learn more about agriculture and meet new people, but to also eat at D2 and consume plenty of good food and fresh chocolate milk.

As a lover of life and knowledge, Rachel Bigelow has been writing since childhood about her travel and social experiences. Born in Hawaii, then living in Iceland, and finding home in Virginia Beach, she has met a lot of different people and developed a passion for sharing her newly learned life lessons with other growing teenagers.