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Logo | Illinois Agrivultural Education

FFA is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education..

The FFA Alumni Association supports and advocates for agricultural education and FFA through gifts of time, talent and financial resources..

The mission of the Illinois FFA Foundation is to provide financial support for the Illinois FFA. When you make a gift to the Illinois Foundation FFA, you are investing in the future of agriculture..

The Illinois Association of Vocation Agriculture Teachers (IAVAT) is a professional organization for agricultural teachers at all levels..

The Illinois Association of Community College Agriculture Instructors (IACCAI) is a statewide professional organization for postsecondary agriculture instructors. .

The Illinois Postsecondary Agricultural Student (PAS) Organization provides opportunities for individual growth, leadership and career preparation. .

The Illinois Farm Bureau & Affiliated Companies Youth Education in Agriculture program offers unique educational programs to Illinois youth in 4-H and FFA. .

The purpose of the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom Program is to encourage educators to incorporate more information about the agriculture, food, and natural resources system into daily lessons..
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Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education (FCAE) is a state project administered through the Illinois State Board of Education that is tasked with improving and expanding agricultural education from pre-k through adult levels..

The Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education (ILCAE) is a voluntary, grassroots agricultural industry group focused on the expansion and improvement of Agricultural Education programs at all levels..

The Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education (ICAE) is a 13-member committee established by legislation and appointed by the Governor to advise both the governor and state education agencies concerning Agricultural Education K-adult..

The Illinois State Board of Education is the state agency responsible for Pre-K through 12th grade education. Its primary mission is state program leadership, planning, approval, funding, and evaluation..

The Illinois Department of Agriculture will be an advocate for Illinois' agricultural industry and provide the necessary regulatory functions to benefit consumers, agricultural industry, and our natural resources.. provides information about the Agricultural Education profession and encourages students to consider a career as an agriculture teacher..

MyCAERT provides teachers with an integrated online system to Plan, Document, Deliver, and Assess Career and Technical Education instruction. .

Information Technology and Communication Services (ITCS) Instructional Materials provides agricultural education publications in a variety of formats. .

The Agricultural Experience Tracker is the premiere personalized online system for tracking experiences in agricultural education. .
FFA FFA Alumni IL FFA Foundation IAVAT IACCAI PAS IFB Youth Education IAITC FCAE ILCAE ICAE ISBE Illinois Department of Agriculture MyCAERT ITCS The AET

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Casey Bolin
District 5 Program Advisor
Sections 21-25
1475 West Whittaker
Salem, IL 62881
Cell: (618) 780-0230
[email protected]
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District V Message-Dean Dittmar-11/6/2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Howard Heavner is the agriculture instructor and FFA Advisor at the Valmeyer High School. He requested that his letter be shared on the listserv. Please take time to read.

I believe it is necessary to share this message with you about one of my students. Brandon was the student’s name. He was by every measure a happy young man, and almost always with a smile.  The young man lived behind school and almost every day I said "Hi" to him as he was walking to school or walking home. As a freshman, he took agriculture, but decided not to join FFA, because he lived in town and just wasn’t sure he would belong.  This year he was enrolled in my Ag Science class.  This year he decided to join he paid his dues and got one of our Carharrt FFA jackets and one of our FFA T-shirts. At the funeral home, his mother told me he was so happy and proud to get that jacket and that shirt. The sad reality was he had gotten into trouble, and in a panic, he shot himself. It has caused an incredible amount of pain and sadness within our community. On the positive side there was an incredible show of support for the family by both the school and community. People have shown truly how much they care about each other.
We have phrases that we use in the FFA such as leadership from ourselves, respect from others, and step up and stand out, which up to this point had been mostly just words to me.  I saw two of our members before a church full of classmates shortly after Brandon’s passing; they did step up and stand out.  They demonstrated such leadership by speaking to their friends and classmates about accepting what had happened.  I have never seen such courage in the face of such pain.  I will forever respect the courage and the character of those students. The experience further proved to me that we work with some truly amazing kids. They certainly stepped up without caring about standing out to help all the kids through the pain.  I can only pray that I have that much courage in a similar situation.
The purpose of my message is not to share grief, but to ask a few simple favors.  I ask you to find that strength to share that smile with your students because we never know how much impact we have on a kid.  I was happy to know that my contact with Brandon while he was here made him a happier young man.  I ask you to never forget that in many cases we may be the one teacher that our students look forward to seeing each day, so a kind word while a little thing to us, may mean everything to them.  I admit that I had forgotten and encourage you not to forget that the little things like a jacket,a  pin, or t-shirt that may not seem that important to us,  are very important to our kids and may give them a true sense of belonging to something.  
Thank you for your time and I hope my message was helpful to you.
Howard Heavner
Valmeyer High School Ag Instructor

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