The Heartland FFA Alumni auction raises money for both Normal FFA chapters each year. (WJBC File Photo)
By Carrie Muehling
NORMAL - When area high school students get back after winter break, they will have to enroll for next year’s courses.
Because of that, agriculture students at Unit 5 high schools have been promoting agriculture awareness at the middle school and high school level over the past several weeks.
“It’s just to make them aware of the ag industry, that it’s more than the tractor driving in the field out there,” said Kevin Enderlin, agriculture instructor at Normal Community High School (NCHS) and Normal Community West High School (NCWHS).
The programs reached nearly all eighth grade students at both Parkside and Chiddix Junior High Schools, and agriculture career displays reached students at Kingsley and Evans Junior High Schools. They also talked to all current freshmen at NCWHS about opportunities in agriculture.
“Where a lot of these kids are graduating from college and not finding jobs and moving home with mom and dad and living in the basement… these kids graduating from the colleges of ag are finding jobs,” said Enderlin. “As a matter of fact, many of them have multiple job offers.”
Auction fundraiser approaching
Students in the agriculture program have also been working to collect donations for Illinois Association FFA Foundation and are now preparing for the Heartland FFA Alumni auction, which supports the FFA chapters at both schools. That event will be on Feb. 18 at NCWHS. Enderlin said there is still time for companies to donate by calling the high school. Last year’s auction raised a record $20,000.
“This year for the first time, because we had the extra funds, we paid every student’s FFA dues,” said Enderlin. “So this is the first time that our FFA chapters have had 100 percent of the students in ag also FFA members.”
The money also goes towards student scholarships, supplies, equipment and materials.
Carrie Muehling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.