SYCAMORE, Ill. — Faculty for Sycamore Community School District 427′s agriculture program were thanked during a recent School Board meeting for elevating the district’s program to a nationally recognized level.
The National Association of Agriculture Educators gave Sycamore High School the Outstanding Middle/Secondary Agricultural Education Program Award for Region Four.
The NAAE doesn’t have the winning programs from its six regions square off for a national award, so this is the highest potential accolade the program can receive from the association.
“It’s quite an accomplishment,” said School Board Member Kriss Wrenn. “It’s nice to see you recognized for the great work you’re doing.”
Kara Poynter, an agriculture teacher for Sycamore High School, thanked the School Board for the opportunities afford to the program. She said the new classes and programs the department has implemented during her tenure has always been with the students in mind.
“We want to be there and try and find a place for every kid to fit into our program and I think we’ve been successful with that,” Poynter said.
Wrenn said a couple of parents came up to her during this year’s FFA banquet and told her their children wouldn’t be in school if it weren’t for the agriculture program.
“And I just think that speaks such loud volumes about what you’re doing and actually creating a space to have kids that really struggle to find a home here,” Wrenn said.
Assistant Superintendent Nick Reineck said agriculture program has grown over the past decade thanks to faculty like Poynter and Christian Thurwanger.
Reineck noted how the woodworking shop and the metal shop now have classes throughout the day thanks to department’s work to create student interest.
Reineck also said the award from NAAE was surely influenced by the faculty creating inclusive classes that draw in students that wouldn’t ordinarily see the appeal of agriculture education.
“It’s not only your traditional ag or FFA student that maybe sometimes we think of, and that’s what went into this award,” Reineck said.