HARRISBURG -- In recent years, the agriculture department at Harrisburg High School has flourished in large part due to the support of high school principal Scott Dewar.
Recently, Dewar received the FFA District V Agriculture Education Advocacy Award in recognition of his support for his school's FFA program.
The award was presented by the Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education at the Summer Conference of the Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers.
With Dewar's oversight, Harrisburg FFA Chapter members have participated in 13 leadership or career conferences and conventions located across the state of Illinois and some nationally. Harrisburg FFA Chapter has also made a local impact with several ag literacy programs involving more than 200 elementary students at Harrisburg Unit 3 and community service projects. Members have successfully competed in career development events at the section, district and state level. These competitions expose members to potential career opportunities.
Dewar also has made an impact in the classroom as well. He has helped update facilities at the high school. These updates include the addition of a new 5,000 square-foot ag mechanics lab with a state-of-the-art welding ventilation system. The ag department has added several new items to their inventory, such as welders, a wood planer, a jointer, a hydroponics systems, various hand tools, a drone and science lab equipment.
Dewar allowed the ag instructors to participate in more than 100 hours combined of professional development during his tenure. They have attended regional, state, and national conferences and networked with other ag teachers around the country. They have been able to bring these experiences to the students at Harrisburg High School.
Nick James, one of the two ag instructors at Harrisburg High School, has served on the executive board of the Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers the last three years and credits Dewar's support and understanding of his involvement at the state level.
"The support Mr. Dewar gives us, allows us to provide opportunities to kids that some ag programs only dream of," James said. "We are blessed with his support and the necessary tools he provides for us to be successful."