Teen seeks royal, rural treatment
While many teen girls dream of being prom queen or a homecoming princess, in rural Oregon, several girls have their sights set on a slightly different kind of royalty. For Samantha Arnold, an 18-year-old from Boring, the goal is to be crowned Oregon Dairy Princess.
As state dairy princess, Arnold would be allowed the chance to travel the state for a year, representing the Oregon Dairy Women and educating children on agriculture. Arnold has traveled county-wide as the Clackamas County dairy princess since last May.
When Arnold attended Sam Barlow High School, participation in Future Farmers of America (FFA) was not an option and her school didn't offer an agricultural education.
Arnold's interest in agriculture really bloomed in her teen years, so the lack of an academic-based agricultural club was disheartening for her. So she joined 4-H under Melissa Collman of Boring's Cloud Cap Farms three years ago.
Since she didn't have animals of her own, the farm assigned her a dairy cow to show at fairs.
"I grew up going to the county fair, and once I entered high school I really became interested in agriculture," Arnold explained. "(What fascinated me was) the sustainability factor of (agriculture). The way that a whole society can be held up by agriculture and not know it."
Arnold initially planned to pursue a career as a history teacher, but when she entered college at Oregon State University, she soon found she wanted to afford students an opportunity at an education in another field close to her heart — agriculture.
"I want other kids to have the opportunity I missed out on," Arnold said.
She is striving toward a bachelor's degree in agricultural science and a master's degree in agricultural education. She plans to teach at a school in Clackamas County in the future.
In the meantime, the role of Clackamas County's dairy princess has been not only a fun experience for Arnold, but an educational one, which has helped further her knowledge in the field she's studying at OSU.
Arnold's participation in the Oregon Dairy Princess competition is actually considered an internship by OSU.
"The idea of doing something I love while not holding back my schooling is an amazing opportunity," Arnold noted. "I appreciate the opportunity (being a dairy princess) has given me. I get to go into classrooms and work one-on-one with kids. It's truly opened my eyes to how important it is to teach young children about agriculture and why it's important."
On Jan. 19, Arnold will compete as Clackamas County's dairy princess against girls from other counties for the state title. The competition entails a four-minute speech, creating a commercial, an interview and answering impromptu questions. The Post will publish updates on Arnold's dairy princess journey as further information is available.