High school wraps up school year with annual tradition - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

High school wraps up school year with annual tradition

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By Alanna Martella, Reporter


A tradition continued on Thursday at Lewiston-Altura High School.

When thinking of tractors, you typically envision the farming equipment planting or harvesting crops.

But in a farming town such Lewiston, those tractors get a break from the manual labor for a day, when students navigate the roads and drive their tractors to school.

"It's the last day of school, and as tradition has it in this school, they drive their tractors in,” explained Lewiston-Altura High School Principal Ryan Ihrke.

If you happened to be in Lewiston on Thursday, you would have seen 27 tractors, a combine, and a chopper lining the lawn of the high school.

“Sometimes you'll see some really old tractors that kids have spent a long time fixing up. Some are very excited about driving the bigger tractor, you know bigger, bigger, bigger! And then you'll have a kid who might be driving something from the 1940s or 50s that they refurbished,” said Ihrke of the different types of tractors that grace the front yard of the school each year.

And, not surprisingly, in a world where social media is taking over, many onlookers turn to various social media outlets.

"Everyone who graduates always takes snapchat stories of all the tractors lined up saying, 'We came from a school that drives their tractors on the last day of school'," said Ally Haake, who ended her senior year of high school on Thursday.

A day everyone looks forward to, each and every year.

"It's a great experience for the kids, its a fun way to end the school year. In an ag town it's fitting," said Ihrke.

For some, driving a tractor just comes naturally.

"Personally, I like it a lot more because I've driven a tractor my whole life. And I'm not really used to a car,” said Gavin Smith, who just ended his freshman year of high school.

Ally Haake is one of two girls who drove a tractor to school.

"I think it's great to show that boys that, yeah we can do it too!" said Haake.

It was her first time taking part, but since she is graduating, it was also her last.

"My dad has had this tractor for a long time, so I decided that I wanted to learn how to drive it," said Haake.

She continued, “It's a great community. Everyone loves this tradition and I'm glad I got to be a part of it this year.”

This annual event isn't only exciting, but it provides hope for the future of a dwindling culture.

"We have piles of kids in this community that know they're going into farming. It's a family business that a lot of our kids are going to go into. They know they're going to. So this is a way to celebrate that," said Ihrke.

But for now, students are just riding their tractors into summer vacation.

All the students I talked to today say that their commute time on their tractors was double or more that of their typical drive to school in the car.

But they don't mind one bit.

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