University News

Classrooms Taught by WIU Alumni Awarded Grants from Compeer Financial

August 22, 2022

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MACOMB, IL – High school agriculture classes taught by eight Western Illinois University School of Agriculture alumni will be enhanced by funding awarded recently by the Compeer Financial Fund for Rural America.

Teachers whose classrooms were impacted by money from the Farm Credit cooperative's giving program include alumni Rod Main, a 1983 graduate who is an instructor at ROWVA High School; Mallory Tolley, a 2008 graduate who teaches at Knoxville (IL) High School; Scott Riden, a 1988 graduate who teaches in the United School District; Mariana Roberts, a 2018 graduate who teaches at Payson-Seymour High School; Riley Hintzsche, a 2014 graduate who teaches at Streator Township High School; Kyle Miller, a 2007 graduate who teaches at Prairie Central High School; Emily Chambers, a 2013 graduate who teaches in the Belvidere North School District and Mary Barnes, a 1985 graduate, who teaches in the Pleasant Hill School District.

Compeer Financial's corporate giving program awarded a total of $229,852 to 65 high schools in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin, which encompasses Compeer's territory. Each school received grants of up to $4,000 to pay for a variety of hands-on learning tools and new technologies for agriculture education classrooms. It is estimated 11,575 students will be impacted through the grant awards.

Barnes said the grant to the Pleasant Hill School District will be coupled with other grants to buy an Arclight CNC Plasma cutting machine and a 4X4 water table.

"We are planning to open the boxes and set up the system as we return to school in the fall," she said. "With the help of Compeer Financial, and other partners, we were able to purchase and ship a $20,000 addition to the STEM course in agriculture mechanics and fabrication."

Hintzsche said the money awarded to Streator Township High School will be used to buy a floral cooler, dissection pans and other equipment and a calendar TV.

The other classrooms, led by WIU alumni, will use the money to buy:
• ROWVA Schools: high-pressure, laminate top science table
• Knoxville High School: welders
• United High School FFA Chapter: rolling benches for the greenhouse
• Payson FFA: chicken coop supplies
• Prairie Central Agriculture Department: small gas engines
• Belvidere North High School FFA: swine breeder and injection pad

For more information about the WIU School of Agriculture, visit

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