Twins revved up for busy senior year

August 10, 2018

There will be no senior-year coasting for Bethany and Brianna Knowlton.

In planning their final year at Deer Park High School, the 17-year-old twins have arranged full schedules that will include preparing for college and spending long hours at the agriculture barn with their animals.

FFA will play a large role — both have a heifer and steer that they will show at rodeos around the state.

“We’re also going to get chickens, and Bethany will be getting a goat this year,” Brianna said.

A calf that Bethany caught in the calf scramble last year has been a project two years in the making.

“I have to do monthly reports on her, and I have to write a business plan this year (related to owning cattle), which is new to the program,” she said. “Basically they want us to learn to gauge how much money it takes to raise a heifer or a steer. They’ll look over the plan and judge it based on our reports and budgeting; so I’m excited to learn those things.”

Brianna wants to help change attitudes about FFA’s importance in industrial towns like Deer Park.

“The more people see other people in FFA, the more they realize there’s more to this city than just the plants,” she said. “Agriculture and livestock are a big part of our history. People here raise animals; they understand agriculture - there’s just more to us as a city than meets the eye.”

‘Cried like a baby’

The twins, who are the children of John and Charlotte Knowlton, know that their FFA commitment will mean many early mornings, late nights and lessons in letting go.

“After your steer is auctioned off, they get on a trailer, you never see them again and they go to slaughter,” Brianna said. “It can be hard. Bethany cried like a baby last year.”

Bethany didn’t argue.

“Oh I absolutely cried like a baby last year! My steer was just like a big puppy dog; so it was sad to see him go, but it’s something you learn to accept.”

Brianna said it’s all part of the learning process.

“We knew what we were getting into,” she said. “If anything it’s taught me to live in the moment and appreciate what you have in that moment.”

Both girls are also looking forward to getting their floral certificate this year - a designation they can get through FFA that focuses on floral design and horticulture that could potentially allow them to get jobs as floral designers to help pay the bills while they’re in college.

“The floral (category) isn’t new, but it wasn’t at our school for a while and our teacher recently brought it back,” Brianna said. “She loves floral, that’s her niche. And there’s a few parts to it. One part is identification. They’ll stick plans in a vase and test your knowledge on what those are. Then there’s a placement portion where you make a floral arrangement and it’s judged based on design, symmetry, those type of things.”

Bethany’s goal is to become a teacher.

“I haven’t decided completely yet, but I think I’ll go to (San Jacinto College) and get my basics before I get a degree to teach at a larger university. Maybe agriculture because I love it so much.”

Brianna has aspirations to be a nurse.

“I’ll also probably go to San Jac for two years to get my basics done before I transfer to another university,” she said.


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