Sister act: Elizabeth, Autumn Collman work hard in school, on the family dairy farm in Boring
It's a lot of responsibility to work on a farm, let alone one that has been in the community for 96 years. Yet, somehow the sister act of Elizabeth and Autumn Collman get the job done at Cloud Cap Dairy in Boring, all while maintaining good grades and participating in multiple extracurricular activities like soccer, band, dance team and Future Farmers of America.
Whether the girls — Elizabeth, 15 and Autumn, 12 — realize it fully, they are gaining a large lesson in work ethic from helping out at the dairy — one which started when they were 3-5 years old with taking care of their own cows.
"Not that I really had a choice," Elizabeth joked when asked why she started working with cows. "But I do really like being able to spend time with the animals. I also think it's cool to think how long our farm has been here. It's such an honor. Most farms in this area have closed, but not ours."
Her sister echoed that sentiment, adding: "I'm kind of constantly asking for a new animal."
Appropriately, Autumn wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up, so playing at Dr. Doolittle with any animal that comes to the farm seems like good practice.
Both sisters also like to work with younger children, which they have had ample opportunity to do, not only as teacher's assistants in the Boring schools, but as their mother Melissa's helpers when she hosts educational farm tours for kids.
"I like to be able to educate people on how dairy farms really work," Elizabeth explained. She said there's a lot of misperceptions about dairies being inhumane that aren't true at smaller outfits like Cloud Cap. "It's humane, and the cows are happy."
Elizabeth has been known to go out and read to the cows when she has time and has also put in five years as a teacher's aid in a special needs classroom. Autumn just finished her first year of helping out a physical education teacher.
"(I think maybe volunteering in the special education room) is just my personality," Elizabeth said. She added that she was around her uncle, who was autistic, a lot growing up and thinks that experience may have influenced her current aspirations to be a teacher in a special education setting. "I like being able to help those students."
"I really like helping out the teachers," Autumn added. "I think it's kind of fun. We kind of just are always helping."
When she's not showing Jersey cows for 4-H, Elizabeth is practicing with the Sandy High dance team or getting additional agricultural leadership experience from FFA.
Last year, Elizabeth had the opportunity, as a freshman, to compete in the state FFA contest with a prepared speech about "The Death of the Dairy Farmer." While she didn't advance in the competition, many in the FFA community were impressed with the research she did, which really hit home for her.
Autumn shows both cows and sometimes horses in 4-H, but she also enjoys being a member of the Boring Middle School band as a flutist and playing soccer.
The girls' mother, Melissa, describes Autumn as her "busiest child."
Both girls take shifts to feed and tend the cows at Cloud Cap — Autumn in the morning and Liz in the evening — and this year they actually started being paid to for their efforts. At least half of that money will go toward schooling to pursue their respective careers by paying for college.
"Working here is like being part of a little community," Melissa said. "I think the girls will be good workers because they know already how to work hard."
Look for more stories like this in our Amazing Kids special section inside next week's edition of The Sandy Post.
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