Students from Garrard Middle School traveled to Berea Monday to visit the Berea College Educational Farm. The trip was part of the partnership between Berea College’s GEAR UP program and Garrard County Schools. The seventh-graders toured the farm, learning about the hands-on way in which some college students study real world subjects like agriculture, animal husbandry and business.

“Today we are visiting an agriculture farm in Berea and we are learning about the processes of it and how students can get involved with it,” said Bailey Wright, of GMS. “I’m kind of interested in agriculture because my parents have a history of working on farms and selling tractors, so I’m kind of doing a little research for myself,” she said.

Bob Harned, Berea College’s Educational Farm Manager, said that even though these students are years away from attending college, there is much to learn from a trip to a campus. “Whether they’re middle-schoolers or high-schoolers, the big picture here is to encourage them to further their education in some form or fashion.” Of course, Harned hopes the students liked what they saw on the farm. “We want to inform these prospective college students that there is a lot more opportunity here than cows and plows.” But he also knows that one subject can often spark an interest in another, and any motivation to excel in education makes the trip worthwhile. “They might say, ‘Maybe I’m kind of interested in agriculture or a related science, so when I hit high school, I need the math and science course that will prepare me to go on to maybe Berea College or somewhere else.’”


Wright agrees that seventh-graders should be visiting college campuses and learning more. “It’s important to be thinking about colleges early in the seventh-grade, because it helps you get a feel for what you want,” she said. “I can get ready for college by preparing myself by researching, making good grades and taking these trips to gain more information.”

Braxton Allen, Wright’s classmate, has already seen the value of a GEAR UP trip, as well as the program’s other activities in his school. “GEAR UP helps get us prepared for college by bringing us to field trips like this,” he said. “And they also helped us get the EXPLORE test early in seventh grade instead of eighth, and I scored the highest in my grade that year.”

For more information about GEAR UP in Garrard County, contact Angie Fielder at (859) 792-2108 or

Garrard Farm Visit Photo Gallery