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WIU Ag Alumna Awarded Teaching Grant
Illinois Ag Connection - 11/13/2017

A Western Illinois University School of Agriculture alumna was one of four recipients of an Illinois Agriculture Education Teacher Grant to benefit first-time educators.

Grace Foster, a 2015 graduate with a degree in agriculture education, currently teaches agriculture at Rushville-Industry High School. She is also the school's FFA advisor.

The grant program comes from the Illinois Agricultural Association Foundation, a charitable arm of the Illinois Farm Bureau. The four winners are provided a maximum of $10,000 for their first five years in the classroom. The supplemental personal income grants were awarded based on excellent classroom efforts and goal setting.

"I believe they started this because of the teacher retention issues we are facing and the current agriculture teacher shortage," said Foster. "The application process included short- and long-term goals for my agriculture program here at Rushville-Industry, as well as personal professional goals for the future."

Foster said she has not yet decided how her grant award will be spent.

"I believe they chose to create a personal income grant because of what we are seeing with many new ag teachers," she said. "Because a degree in agriculture education is fairly universal in the field of agriculture, many seek a career within the agriculture industry where they can make more money as compared to a teaching salary. Additionally, the grant will be extended out over five years. Many people say that if you can stick through your first three years of being an ag teacher, you will stay with the profession. I think that by extending the grant over five years, they provide an incentive for teachers to get through the tough years and remain committed to agriculture education."

For more information about the grant program, visit bit.ly/2ygC2GB.

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