High School Students Showcase Agriculture Proficiency During Events at JJC

The agricultural aptitude of roughly 380 Illinois high school students was on display during a series of events this month at Joliet Junior College. 

Mendota High School seniors Owen Wixom and Marie Barnickel took home awards at the District 2 Proficiency Interviews at JJC.
Owen Wixom (left) and
​​​​​​Marie Barnickel (right)
from Mendota High School
took home honors at the
District 2 Proficiency Interviews
hosted by
JJC's Agricultural Sciences Department. 
Credit: Mendota High School

The college’s Agricultural Sciences Department hosted three competitions over a two day period at JJC’s Weitendorf Center.  

On March 7, FFA members met with judges to showcase their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs during the district proficiency contest. These interviews also allowed students to learn valuable communication skills. 

SAEs occur outside the classroom. They’re part of the agriculture education model that combines FFA experience and classroom or laboratory instruction in order to produce the best leaders.

“JJC’s Ag faculty and Ag students are very involved in making the event successful year after year,” said Mary Cwikla, coordinator of the Weitendorf Agricultural Education Center.

The Illinois Association FFA has 50 different proficiency areas. The winner in each category will compete at the state proficiency level. 

On March 10, the JJC Agricultural Sciences Department hosted two different competitions, the Illinois FFA State Vet Science contest and the Illinois FFA State Food Science contest. 

220 high school students attended to display their expertise in the fields.

Participants in the Vet Science contest spent the day taking various exams that tested their knowledge in subjects like the identification of breeds and parasites. 

Food Science contest participants competed in activities that exercised everything from their marketing to their math abilities. 

The Agricultural Sciences Department is preparing to host more events this spring, including the Ag Expo March 20-22. A livestock judging contest is slated for April 14 and a pig show will take place on May 5.

For more information contact Scott Harvey, communications and media coordinator, at 815-280-2844 or sharvey@jjc.edu.