The FFA is a national youth organization of over 507,000 members with over 7,400 chapter in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences has the largest FFA Chapter in Illinois and it was the school of the first urban student, Corey Flournoy, to be head of the organization.

It was therefore our pleasure to welcome two of the six National FFA Officers to Eli’s Cheesecake World. Laila Hajji, the FFA Central Region Vice President, is a student at Texas Tech who has the goal of serving as an agricultural education teacher in an urban school system. Regina Holliday, the FFA Southern Region Vice President, is a student at the University of Georgia, who is interested in becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in large animal medicine.

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Regina and Laila are welcomed to Eli’s Cheesecake World by David Gilligan, former Principal of the Chicago High School for Ag Sciences and now a senior officer of the Chicago Public Schools, Sarah Hileman,  Urban Ag Ed Field Advisor for FCAE (part of the Illinois Board of Education) Eli’s President Marc Schulman, Vaughn Occupational High School Principal, Dr. Rusty Burnette, and Dr. Charles Guengerich, the President of Wright College.

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Laila and Regina are joined by Jennifer Buteyn, the Principal at Ridgewood High School, Dr. Robert Lupo, Superintendent of Illinois High School District 234 and Sarah Hileman of FCAE. Ridgewood is a great partner of Eli’s painting our Cafe windows seasonally and providing the great Ridgewood High Cheerleaders when Chicago Teams get to a championship game. Ridgewood is also an educational partner with Triton Community College, which has great horticultural and culinary programs, and provides an outstanding career path for Ridgewood graduates.

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Laila and Regina congratulate Eli’s Ivan Hernandez, a graduate of Vaughn High School, on his outstanding achievements at Eli’s. Joining in the congratulations are Eli’s Marc Schulman and Vaughn Principal, Dr. Rusty Burnette. Vaughn, in partnership with Wright College, is  a leader in environmental studies and horticulture creating new career opportunities for its unique students.

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Eli’s Marc Schulman thanks Regina and Laila for visiting Eli’s.

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Eli’s Jeff Anderson, a fellow in the Illinois Ag Leadership Foundation, thanks Regina and Laila for their support of agricultural education nationally.

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