Current Weather

WRUL On Air Now

Cathy Taylor
9:00am - 2:00pm

WROY On Air Now

RLC Agriculture programs host 41st annual event

Eight students and one community member were honored during the 41st Annual Agriculture Banquet at Rend Lake College last week. Faculty and staff celebrated the end of another successful year for the five agriculture programs alongside students, graduates and family.

During the banquet, numerous students were honored with gifts and awards from faculty, including seven program-specific outstanding student awards and one overall outstanding student award.

Each of RLC’s five agriculture programs recognized outstanding students for going “above and beyond” throughout the year. Mike Burris, Ag Mechanics and Diesel Technology Professor, awarded the Diesel Technology Outstanding Awards to Jordan Krug of Belleville and Zach Sternberg of Ellis Grove. He also awarded the Ag Mechanics Outstanding Award to Zane Clark of Macedonia.

Zach Vahlkamp, Heavy Equipment Technology Associate Professor, awarded the Heavy Equipment Outstanding Awards to Brennan Fitzwater of Salem and Chase Nicol of Carlisle, Ind.

Kathy Craig, Agriculture Associate Professor, awarded the Ag Production Outstanding Award to Austin Ellison of Belleville. She also presented the Ag Business Outstanding Award to Emily Lusby of Bluford.


The Outstanding Agriculture Students of the Year are, FROM LEFT, Wade Hutchens of Ewing; Zane Clark of Macedonia; Zach Sternberg of Ellis Grove; Chase Nicol of Carlisle, Ind.; Jordan Krug of Belleville; Brennan Fitzwater of Salem; Austin Ellison of Belleville; and Emily Lusby of Bluford.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

The overall Outstanding Ag Student of the Year Award was given to Wade Hutchens of Ewing. Craig explained she polled all of her students about who should receive the award, and Hutchens received the most support from his peers. Hutchens was named RLC’s 2017 Homecoming King and is one of two Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society All-USA nominees for his academics.

A slideshow containing photos from the year and a presentation from RLC President Terry Wilkerson also highlighted the evening. Wilkerson, 1992 Outstanding Ag Student of the Year, addressed the audience with a presentation filled with advice for graduates, focusing on their employment in the future and life after college.

“Don’t ever stop learning. Don’t ever stop having fun,” said Wilkerson. “But, don’t forget who and what you’re working for.”

After Wilkerson’s speech, Duane Green, a salesman at Wm. Nobbe & Co., was awarded the Henry Douglas Leeck Service Award. Craig said Green was selected because of his support and recruitment for RLC’s agriculture programs.


Duane Green, CENTER, of Wm. Nobbe & Co. accepted the Henry Douglas Leeck Service Award during the 41st Annual Agriculture Banquet last week. Also pictured is Zach Vahlkamp, LEFT, and Kathy Craig, RIGHT.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

“Duane was instrumental in helping us receive Service Advisor software for the Ag Mechanics program,” explained Craig. “He is always willing to help us out, and he is a big advocate for our programs.”

To learn more about RLC’s Agriculture programs, visit