University News

WIU Alumnus Teaches in Division Winning Agriculture Program

September 7, 2022

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MACOMB, IL – For the past two years, a middle school or secondary school agriculture program, taught by a Western Illinois University School of Agriculture graduate, has been named the Outstanding Middle/Secondary Agricultural Education Program for the National Association of Agricultural Educators Division IV.

Christian Thurwanger, a 2018 WIU agriculture program graduate, is one of two agriculture teacher at Sycamore High School, this year's Division IV winner. Sycamore if Thurwanger's home high school.

The 2021 winner was Cambridge High School, where WIU alumnus Trent Taber, 1 2015 WIU graduate, is an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor.

Thurwanger said the Sycamore program applied for the honors and it was reviewed based on its programs, mission and goals, as well as program curriculum, experiential learning, leadership development, partnerships, marketing and professional growth.

"When I attended WIU I can remember Dr. (Andy) Baker mentioning how each program can be successful as long as you are willing to put in the work," said Thurwanger. "From that moment forward I knew I would have big aspirations of achieving great things, no matter where I was located. I was fortunate enough to end up back in my home high school, but I still stay connected with previous alumni in our cohort that have been great motivators as well as great resources in making those big aspirations I had as a freshman at WIU come true."

The Division IV area encompasses Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois.

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