MAHOMET — When ag teacher/FFA adviser Jennifer Wherley joined the teaching staff at Mahomet-Seymour High School 21 years ago, there were 17 students in the ag program.
Today, there are 250 students enrolled in ag classes, all of whom are in FFA. Another 400 are in the newly created ag program at the junior high, with half of them seventh- and eighth-graders who are eligible to be in FFA, and the half sixth-graders.
The junior high FFA students compete in contests just like their high school counterparts.
A junior high ag/FFA program is a rarity in Illinois, but it is becoming less so. At Blue Ridge in Farmer City, adviser Jacalyn Meisner said 15 eighth-graders are part of the ag/FFA program.
“Last time I heard, there were 15 junior high FFA chapters in the state,” Meisner said.
This marks Meisner’s seventh year at Blue Ridge, and eighth-grade ag exploratory classes were offered before she got there.
At Mahomet-Seymour, Wherley said the administration has looked at several ways to enhance the ag program as enrollment in those subjects has ballooned the last three years, Wherley said.
Two ag teachers were added this year to accommodate the overflow — Jacob Meisner at the high school and Maddie Morris at the junior high.
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