This was the third annual auction, with proceeds going to defray
some of the expenses of sending Hartem FFA members to Washington,
D.C., this summer to attend the annual FFA Washington Leadership
Auction items were donated by area businesses and individuals.
Five auctioneers from around the area donated their time and talents
to the event.
Hartsburg sent eight local students to Washington last summer.
The state FFA organization chartered two buses to take the students
to our nation's capital.
The Leadership Conference is a one-week class. Because of the
number of FFA members attending from around the nation, the
conference is broken into seven one-week sessions.
According to Betsy Pech, Hartsburg FAA faculty adviser, "no
student has returned disappointed with the experience."
The FFA is active in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin
Islands. The conference is a way for members to network with their
peers from around the country. There is also time to sightsee and do
community service while engaged in FFA leadership classes.
"The FFA is so much more than agriculture," said Pech. "It
teaches life skills that can be used in any profession."
In addition to the auction, the Hartsburg FFA alumni served a
biscuit, sausage and gravy breakfast as a fundraiser for their
annual scholarship program. The alumni give several scholarships
each year to graduating seniors to help with their continuing
education. Alumni members bake the biscuits from scratch. The
breakfast sold out.
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The Hartsburg High School agriculture program owes a great deal
of its success to Betsy Pech. She designed the high school ag
program and is the driving force behind an extremely successful FFA
chapter. She has been awarded the Honorary American Farmer Degree
from the national FFA, the highest award given to a person who is
involved with the FFA but is not a student. She was also awarded the
Illinois Outstanding Agriculture Teacher award during Ag Day at last
summer's Illinois State Fair.
Pech plans to retire from teaching at the end of the 2014 school
year. Her successor will have a huge role to fill, given Pech's
passion for teaching and the FFA.
"I will always be involved with the FFA. It is a part of my
life," she said.
The Hartsburg FFA is accepting donations for the Washington
Leadership Conference in addition to the auction proceeds. Contact
Pech at 217-642-5244.
For further information on the FFA, visit
[By CURT FOX]