The Kaskaskia College Agriculture Department held its tenth annual banquet and auction in the Lifelong Learning Center on the main campus on Wednesday, April 2. Student awards and achievements were highlighted along with a silent and oral auction of donated items.
Speakers at the event included Dr. Jim Underwood, president of Kaskaskia College, and Dr. Dee Boswell, Vice-chair fo the KC Board of Trustees.
“The Agriculture program is the number one growth program at the College, with over fifty-five percent growth over the last few years,” Dr. Underwood said. He told the gathering the story of how, thanks in large part to the area legislators, Representative John Cavaletto in particular, the former Animal Disease Lab on campus was turned over to the College to serve as the new Agriculture Education building. With some minor renovations and repurposing of spaces the building should be ready for occupation by the Ag department for the Fall 2014 semester.
Dr. Underwood commended the Ag faculty and students for the wonderful job they are doing, especially the Dairy Judging team, which won two national championships in 2013. “We couldn’t be prouder of the way you represent yourselves and this institution,” he said.
Dr. Boswell talked about the importance of agriculture to the world. “By the year 2050, we will have nine billion people to feed worldwide,” he said. “That is why agriculture may be the most important program of all.” In speaking of the success of the Dairy Judging team, he said “This program has produced the winningest dairy judging team of any college in the country.”
Aaron Heinzmann, Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Agriculture at KC, spoke to the students and their parents in the crowd. “It takes three things to make a great program,” he said. “Great students, great parents, and time. When I look out over the students, graduates, and parents, it makes me proud to have worked with you for the last ten years,” he said. “You are why we are who we are and going where we are going with the program.”
Jennifer Heinzmann, Horticulture Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Horticulture, whose students grew and prepared the numerous plants that adorned the building in the KC greenhouse, gave out the award for Outstanding Horticulture Student 2013-2014 to Melissa Thole of Carlyle, who is earning her Associates Degree in Applied Science in Horticulture Science.
Aaron Heinzmann returned to the podium to award the second annual Outstanding Judge of the Year to Dylan Reed of Vandalia. Dylan is a member of the award winning Dairy Judging Team, and plans to transfer to the University of Illinois to major in Animal Science.
Bill Waggoner, Assistant Professor of Agriculture, presented three awards. The Outstanding Student in Applied Science was awarded to Morgan Wendling of Altamont. After KC, Morgan plans to transfer to SIU Carbondale to major in Animal Science-Production and minor in Agriculture Communications.
The award for Outstanding Agriculture Science student was presented to Tyler Pokojski of Centralia. Tyler is also planning to attend SIU-Carbondale and major in Plant and Soil Science.
Waggoner also presented the award for Outstanding Service, which goes out to a community member who was instrumental in meeting the needs of the Agriculture Program. This year’s award was given to Matt Lillienkamp of South Central FS in Sandoval, Illinois.
A lively oral auction followed, with the money raised to go to fund the activities of the Agriculture and Horticulture Club students.