The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Treasure In The Heartland

Seeds Are Being Planted, Nurtured

by db Conard, The Quill

Last Wednesday at the Hancock County 4-H Extension Center in Carthage, Sam DeCounter Agriculture teacher and F.F.A. Advisor of Illini West was in charge of a very busy day for the members of the FFA Chapter of IWHS.

Like his counterparts working in the fields to get the crops planted, Sam shepherds one of the greatest treasures in the Illini West School District, our communities' youth.

Pre-school is where the education process begins, though, and like special new seeds, approximately 300 children from the communities pre-schools and day-care centers took a field trip, where they would have a day of educational fun.

At the Extension Center, youngsters would make rain sticks out of soda cans, have recycling races, and visit the petting zoo. The Earth Day theme featured forestry, recycling, soil, weather, and Earth Day bracelets.

The Hancock County Extension offers their facilities, the work books and the ideas, while the Illini West Agriculture Department's FFA Chapter helps to enable it all. Most important to the day's special event were each of the twenty-two FFA members, who are all Ag students and FFA members from Freshmen to Seniors.

From station to station, kids all enjoyed a good time and returned to their homes with a knowledge of farm facts and fun and a nice memory that might encourage them to grow into a new FFA member in years to come.

One would be impressed by the efforts captained by Sam DeCounter, and by the capable and considerate teens and FFA members from the Illini West school district.

Without exception, every one of these students were impressionable young adults who didn't talk to you with their eyes to the ground, but stood straight and tall and looked you in the eye, speaking with knowledge about the subject at hand. There were no,"uhs," and "you-knows", but teens with confidence and seriousness who were head and shoulders above many of their peers - true to their chapter's motto - "Learning to Do. Doing to Learn. Earning to Live. Living to Serve."

Yes, it's planting season, and for Ag Advisor Sam DeCounter and his Assistant Melvin Roth, it's a job well done, for in this special group of individuals, one can easily see the result of the seeds that have been planted through the Illini West FFA program and nurtured by parent and community support. Soon we will reap a rich harvest as these worthwhile young people move out into the world and into leadership roles. These are our treasures in the Heartland, the future leaders of tomorrow - in agriculture and in the world.