The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Illini West, Busy With FFA and Ag Education

by Taylor Hardy,  FFA Reporter

Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, and Living to Serve is the motto of the National FFA and is the motto that the Illini West FFA Chapter lives by.

The Illini West FFA has around 80 members that are learning what that motto means by experiencing a core agriculture curriculum in the classroom, maintaining records books about a chosen project, attending agricultural contests as individuals and as teams, and having opportunities to participate in leadership experiences, workshops, and conferences.

Illini West is fortunate to offer a four year curriculum in agriculture, and the FFA is an organization that takes learning about agriculture beyond the classroom.

All students must maintain record books on their Supervised Agriculture Experience that may either be an entrepreneurship or placement.

They also have the opportunity to extend their learning beyond the classroom by attending Career Development Events. There are many of these and just of few of them are: Agronomy, Soils, Meats, Dairy Products, Poultry, Ag Mechanics, Livestock Judging, Parliamentary Procedure, Agriculture Sales and Public Speaking. The highest placing team at a contest so far this year has been the Ag Sales team which placed first at the section level and seventh at the state level. That team consisted of Matt Irish, Tanner Anderson, Kirby Fecht, Sam McDowell, and Gage Blake.

Illini West takes a serious approach to the Living to Serve line in the Motto.

The chapter holds two blood drives each year, collects canned goods for the local food pantry at Christmas and also toys for the Toys for Tots Program, and they maintains a recycling program at IW High School.

Illini West also has a greenhouse that supplements the learning that takes place in the Horticulture class that students can choose to take.

The plants grown are sold to the public and helps financially support the activities that students attend throughout the year.

The Illini West Chapter attended the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, IN and also the Illinois State Convention.

At last year's state convention six members received their coveted state degrees. Those students were: Kirby Fecht, Kelli Adkisson, Jon Tobias, Chris Beaver, Alex Gold, and Chris Holtsclaw.

In addition to them, Grant Clark and Taylor Hardy were just notified they qualified to receive their state degrees.

An important learning opportunity of FFA is learning to be a leader in the field of agriculture.

That experience takes place through opportunities to serve as officers at the chapter and section level and through opportunities to participate in leadership training conferences and workshops.

The IW officers for the 2011-2012 school year are President- Matt Irish, Vice-President- Kelli Adkisson, Reporter - Taylor Hardy, Secretary- Kayden Guymon, Treasurer - Kirby Fecht, Sentinel- Addison Ufkes, and Historian - Taylor Blythe.

The chapter advisor is Sam DeCounter. In addition to chapter offices Illini West has two representatives at the Section level.

Illini West is a part of Section 11 which is made up of eleven school districts.

Kirby Fecht is the Section 11 President and Taylor Hardy is the Section 11 Secretary.

Matt Irish, Joe Frakes, Kelli Adkisson and Taylor Hardy attended the Farm Bureau Youth Leadership Conference last spring and then Kelli Adkisson and Taylor Hardy also had the opportunity to attend the Washington D.C. Leadership Conference last summer.

To celebrate National FFA Week the IW chapter will hold special activities the week of April 16-20 hoping to have warm weather for outside activities.

The whole school participates in the activities and the following is the schedule for the week:

Monday, April 16 - Greenhand Day/Hat DayTuesday,

April 17 -Plaid Shirt/Hick DayWednesday,

April 18 - FFA lunch/Camouflage DayThursday,

April 19 - Teachers' Breakfast/Muddiest Truck DayFriday,

April 20 - Pre-School Ag Day/FFA T-Shirt DayIllini West FFA always invites the community to come see what its members are doing to serve the community and to promote the importance of agriculture in the American culture.