Hard work and dedication are just a few of the values that Miranda Raithel has learned while growing up on a ranch. Being exposed to this kind of environment all her life has allowed Raithel to become comfortable around various types of animals such as dogs, rabbits, horses, cows, cats, and snakes to name a few.
A life path for her, Raithel has been showing cattle since she was a small child. Everything she knows about cattle, including showmanship and handling skills, she has learned from her parents. However, her biggest inspiration, Judy Herbster, who, with her husband Charles W. Herbster, owned Herbster Angus Farms in Falls City, Neb. where Miranda works daily with her parents. When Raithel was younger, Mrs. Herbster taught her the values of hard work and dedication. Raithel described Mrs. Herbster as a genuine person who always treated people fairly and justly, no matter what their background was. Unfortunately, Mrs. Herbster passed away suddenly last spring. Raithel is thankful that UNHS gave her the flexibility to spend every minute with Mrs. Herbster she could.
“Judy could dine with the homeless or the Queen of England and bring them both into an intellectual conversation–never treating one better or worse than the other,” Raithel said.
Raithel has taken the lessons Judy taught her and translated them both into her passion of showing animals and into other aspects of her life. For example, her involvement in the Nebraska Junior Angus Association has given her the ability to lead younger people with the same values and help them pursue their passions just like she is able to.
Raithel has also applied these values to how she manages her busy life. Her schedule of showing and daily chores has left little room for her to be able to fit in a normal high school schedule.
“The reason I chose UNHS was because my previous traditional school would send me to detention for missing so many hours of class because of my shows. From seventh grade to sophomore year, I spent 36 hours in detention all because of my show schedule,” she confided.
UNHS allows Raithel to complete her ranch chores in the mornings and then start her coursework in the afternoon before going back out to finish her evening chores. This flexibility has allowed Raithel to compete in major shows like the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colo., American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City, Mo. and the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky.
Raithel says that balancing her own schedule has made it hard to find a middle ground.
"It's so easy to just stay out and work on the ranch rather than doing schoolwork, but the deadline aspect of UNHS gives me the energy to refocus on coursework." Miranda
Raithel advises other students attempting to balance their own schedules to plan a daily routine that is right for them. “I base my schedule off of the training and feeding schedule for my heifers. I never worry about taking extra days out of my schedule either,” she said.
"It's all worth it for the flexibility that UNHS provides." Miranda