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WIU Ag alumnus Brent Nelson (left), William "Xander" Smith (middle), WIU Ag alumna Kaitlyn Kane (right)
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Macie Bartlow (left) and WIU Ag alumna Katie Riggins
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WIU Ag Alums Sweep Illinois State Discovery Star Awards

April 4, 2024

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MACOMB, IL - - The Illinois State Discovery Star Awards, an event Western Illinois University has had a presence in with multiple alumni over the years, has swept this year's event with students of alumni from Western Illinois University's Agricultural Education (Ag) program taking all the awards. Junior High students from across the state showcased their excellence, with four students clinching the top awards in their respective categories.

Among the WIU Ag alumni are teachers of the award recipients: Rickard '09 from Salt Fork, IL, Kane '22 from Franklin, IL, and Riggins '23 from Macomb, IL.

Discovery Star Farmer: Lucy DeAth, Salt Fork Chapter
Lucy DeAth from Salt Fork Chapter was named the recipient of the Discovery Star Farmer award, demonstrating exceptional knowledge and dedication to agricultural practices.

Discovery Star in Agribusiness: Macie Bartlow, Macomb Middle Chapter
Macie Bartlow of Macomb Middle Chapter exhibited a large base of knowledge in agribusiness, securing the title of Discovery Star in Agribusiness.

Discovery Star in Agricultural Placement: William Smith, Franklin Chapter
William Smith, representing Franklin Chapter, received the position of Discovery Star in Agricultural Placement, demonstrating his achievements in practical agricultural experiences.

Discovery Star in Agriscience: Lily DeAth, Salt Fork Chapter
Lily DeAth, also from Salt Fork Chapter, was recognized as the Discovery Star in Agriscience, showcasing innovation and research capabilities in agricultural science.

"The impact of a classroom teacher is certainly difficult at times to measure or quantify, but the Discovery results from State Awards Day on March 23rd certainly do resonate with the positive impact of WIU Agricultural Education alumni," WIU Ag Director Andrew Baker said. "More and more Illinois agriculture programs are establishing junior high (Discovery) programs to allow this student population to compete and showcase their skill sets. It also takes a quality teacher to recognize, nurture, develop, and train these students to be future agriculture leaders. We greatly appreciate what these WIU alumni are doing in their classrooms and developing the potential in all of their students."

The Discovery Awards, exclusive to Junior High students, serve as a platform to honor excellence in agricultural education. The winners exemplify the future leaders and innovators in the field of agriculture and solidify WIU Ag programs' efforts in teaching the next generation of agricultural principles and innovation.

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