INA, Ill. - The cream of the crop in Rend Lake College’s agriculture program was honored recently at the 35th RLC Agricultural Banquet held in Waugh Gymnasium on the main campus in Ina.
Still growing after 35 years, the annual banquet featured keynote addresses by Ed Newell, Kirk Liefer and Levi Marsh; a slideshow reflecting on soon-to-be graduates’ time spent at the college, 10 Agri Achievers, five field-exclusive awards, five horticulture standouts, an service-centered trustee, one staff member singled out and corecipients of the 2011 Outstanding Agriculture Student of the Year Award.
It was the 11th time in the history of the event that a pair of students were given the Outstanding Agriculture Student of the Year Award. They are Brent Hanke, a 21-year-old agriculture production major from Carlyle and Cailah Brock, a 20-year-old agriculture business major from Benton.
Summer Braden, administrative assistant for the Applied Science and Technology Division, received a special award for her work and RLC Board of Trustees Chairman David Edmison was honored with the 2011 Doug Leeck Memorial Service Award.
Instructors selected a distinguished student from each program. Those awarded included Tim Hill (Tamaroa) ) in Diesel Mechanics, Grant Brown (Murphysboro) in Ag Mechanics, Breann Withrow (Sims) in Agriculture Business, Cody Niederhofer (Mt. Vernon) in Ag Production and Dylan Wisely (Oakdale) in Heavy Equipment Technology.
Special Awards were presented to horticulture students. Mike Culpepper of Mt. Vernon received the Thomas Jefferson Award, Brittany Brown of Mt. Vernon was given the Dancing Gardener Award and Billy Devivo of Herrin received the Biofuel Innovator Award. Shannon Paisley of Mt. Vernon took home the Environmental Police Award.
This year’s Agri Achievers were recognized at the banquet. The student group consists of Kayla Ard (Bluford), Zack Bayler (Broughton), Nichole Bressner (Fairbury), Brock, Hanke, Tyler Laux (Carlyle), Michael McCreery (Benton), Alex Parks (Chaffee, Mo.), Alexis Royce (Bonnie) and Kody Schwarze (Chafflin Bridge).
Programs relating to agriculture, under the Applied Science and Technology Division at RLC, are coordinated by Division Chair Terry Wilkerson with Braden, and instructors Mike Burris (agriculture mechanics and diesel technology), Kathy Craig (agriculture business), Mark Mueller (agriculture), Zack Vahlkamp (heavy equipment technology), Candy Fitch-Deitz (horticulture), Sarah Lee (horticulture), James Lovelady (heavy equipment technology) and Maurice Kirsch (agriculture).