University News

Ag Graduate Proves Excellence in Teaching

October 14, 2002

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MACOMB, IL -- No one ever said teaching students the fundamentals of agriculture would be easy, but a Western Illinois University alumnus continues to do the job with flying colors.

Ron Lynch ‘77, an agriculture teacher from Cissna Park High School, was recently awarded the honor of Agricultural Excellence in Teaching for 2002 from the Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers (IAVAT).

Every year IAVAT distributes letters to school principals asking them to submit the highlights and recent accomplishments of their agriculture teachers. IVAT first selects winners from the state’s 25 sections and then narrows the competition to five according to districts. As one of the five district winners, Lynch was interviewed at the 2002 Illinois State Fair by IVAT representatives after five letters of recommendation were sent on his behalf.

“The competition I was up against was all friends and colleagues. It was pretty stiff,” he said.

Once Lynch won the award, Orion Samuelson, agricultural broadcaster from WGN, along with the director of agriculture in Illinois, presented him with a brass plaque on Agriculture Day at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Lynch said the plaque is one of a special edition commemmorating the 150th year of the Illinois State Fair.

“The greatest honor you can have is an award given by your peers. If the people know you, and the time and efforts required, it makes the award that much stronger in your heart,” he said.

Andy Baker, assistant professor of agriculture at WIU, said Lynch has been a role model for many aspiring pre-service teachers in agricultural education.

“Ron has been a leader in agricultural education for many years in Illinois and his agriculture program has been nationally recognized on many levels,” Baker added.

Lynch is the adviser of Cissna Park’s FFA chapter, which ranked in the national top 10 for community service last year. Lynch said the chapter specializes in horticulture and agricultural business, but they deal with everything from corn to cats and dogs.

“When you’re in a town of 800 people and you know everyone, you try your best to get everyone involved. Our town is very supportive,” Lynch added.

Baker said Lynch continues to dedicate himself to statewide activities associated with pre-service training of teachers. Lynch said their FFA chapter is currently working on some new ideas for this coming spring.

“ I received the plaque, but in reality we all pretty much got the award,” Lynch added.


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