State Bank announces Three-Year Sponsorship of Highland's Postsecondary Ag Students (PAS) Chapter

State Bank and the Highland Community College Foundation are pleased to announce State Bank's pledge to sponsor the HCC Agriculture Club's participation in Postsecondary Agriculture Students (PAS) events for the next three academic years, beginning in Fall 2015. 

Mary Hartman, bank president, states, "Our board is very interested in supporting the local agriculture community, particularly its next generation of leaders. We feel Highland is making great strides lately to update its ag curriculum, develop students' leadership skills, and re-engage community partners."

PAS holds two regional competitions in Illinois each year, and an annual national conference in the spring. This organization provides excellent opportunities for students to develop broader skills, such as leadership, analytical, and public speaking/communication skills - abilities which will serve them well, no matter which specific agriculture career path they may choose.

New agriculture instructor and club sponsor Justin Ebert has already begun cultivating a new vision of agriculture education at Highland, and one aspect of this vision is having an active Ag Club which participates in Postsecondary Ag Students events. In fact, in February, the fledging club took part in the PAS state competition held in Quincy, and some of them placed in their events. 

"These students represented HCC very well," said Ebert. "I hope that their success will spark some interest for other students to participate in PAS activities in the future. We are very grateful to State Bank for their support of Ag Club's involvement in PAS, because we know what a learning experience it can provide for our students."

The agriculture program at Highland Community College is currently in a period of transition since the hiring of Ebert last summer. Justin brings to HCC several years of personal experience as a farmer and 14 years as an agriculture educator, mostly at Oregon High School.

The AG Club's primary objectives are to encourage leadership and fellowship among students with an interest in agriculture. The Highland AG Club participates in state and national post-secondary agriculture competitions, promote the agriculture industry within the Highland community, attend several agriculture related conferences and exhibitions, as well as provide community outreach to local agriculturally-oriented youth groups such as FFA. Any student with an interest in agriculture is welcome to join the Highland AG Club. State Bank sponsors the Ag Club's participation in Postsecondary Agriculture Students (PAS) events.

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