On Wednesday, May 2nd, it was my pleasure to join over 350 parents, staff, industry and community supporters to honor the students of the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. We want to give special thanks to the Senior FFA Chapter Officer who have provided great counsel and support to the students and the business partners throughout the year. The senior officers, their colleges and area of concentration are:

Ryan Jameson-President-University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Agribusiness)

Melissa Janisch-Vice President-University of Notre Dame (Biology)

Alicia Thompson-Secretary-Roosevelt University (Biology)

Moises Navarro-Reporter-Purdue University (Food Science)

Whitney Carter-Treasurer-University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Animal Science)

Rashawn Franklin-Sentinel-University of Kentucky (Agriculture Economics)

Lakelyn Pikowski-Student Advisor-Western Illinois (Hospitality Management)

Every year, I marvel at the energy of the FFA leaders at CHSAS and the amazing energy of Lucille Shaw, the FFA Advisor. At the end of evening, Ms. Shaw and Ryan Jameson, the FFA Chapter President, surprised me with the presentation of the FFA Blue & Gold Award.

A long list of students were recognized with awards at the banquet. In dollars, tens of thousands of dollars were given to students along with many opportunities for future enhancement. A most special award was made to Matt Basile, who was recognized for his work in aquaculture, with a summer fellowship in Australia from the Steve Irwin Foundation.

For myself, my co-chairs, Rouhy Shalabi and John Volk, and all of us on the CHSAS Advisory Board, we wish all of the graduates great success and we look forward to working with the next year’s sophomores, juniors and seniors. We thank Principal David Gilligan for his support and leadership of the school. Very few schools in the country are fortunate to have the leadership and commitment of principal, teachers and staff to make the high school and ag experience so beneficial.