The week of March 18, students from the Kaskaskia College Agriculture and Horticulture Clubs traveled south to Louisville, KY to the 2013 National PAS Conference. PAS is an organization for college students enrolled in agriculture. The organization is about honing the learned skills of its students to better prepare them for their careers. Students are able to use the knowledge they learned in the classroom and apply it to the tests and problems they are presented with at the conference. The Kaskaskia College Agriculture students, excelled in their respective contests, bringing home several national titles.
The Dairy Specialist team brought home the 2013 National Title. In the Dairy Specialist Career Program Area (CPA) students take an individual test, a team test, and a team problem. The tests cover five categories: nutrition, genetics and breeding, management, building and equipment, and health. Sam Ropp (Strawn) was named the national winner for the contest, and Dylan Reed (Beecher City) received second place. Also competing on the top team was Jessica Telgmann (Strasburg). Also competing in Dairy Specialist were Tanner Knebel (Highland), Brett Woker (Greenville), Jared Tebbe (Breese), Ryan Vonder Haar (Breese), Morgan Wendling (Altamont), and Ashton Burroughs (Iuka).
The Career Planning and Progress CPAs were designed to engage students in studying and exploring careers in agriculture. This CPA evolves the cooperation of local schools and local agricultural businesses and industry and students interview local business about the aspects of a certain job. The student makes goals that will help them work towards their career in agriculture. Candidates are then interviewed based on their compiled data and a winner is selected. Gunner Decker (Salem) won the national title in Horticulture Career Planning for Kaskaskia College. Others competing in the Career Planning CPA were Morgan Wendling and Melissa Thole (Carlyle). The Career Progress CPA is the next step after competing in career planning. Students evaluate the goals they set the year prior and assess their success. The students document the skills they have attained over the year. Jeremy Kleiboeker (Breese) was the only student from Kaskaskia College to compete in Career Progress.
Illinois also has the opportunity to bring students to the National Conference and compete at the National level. Precision Agriculture helps develop the skills necessary for students to be successful in this field. Brad Braddock (Patoka) and Brain Schumacher (St. Rose) competed in this contest. Katie Cayo (Mulberry Grove) competed in another National contest of Food Science & Safety. She took home 2nd place after taking a test pertaining to the proper handling of food and completing a problem about possible food safety issues that will have to be dealt with in the future.
Kaskaskia also had teams competing in the Soil Specialist CPA and the Beef Specialist CPA. Both of these contests require a general knowledge test and a problem to solve. Katelynn Mollett (Greenville) and Travis Timmermann (Breese) competed in the Soils Specialist CPA along with Newt Albert (Mulberry Grove) and Tyler Pokojski (Centralia).
The Kaskaskia Aggies also had the opportunity to hear from a keynote speaker, and comedian, Jerry Carroll. The National PAS also had workshops set-up for students to attend in their free time. While at in Louisville, the KC Aggies has the opportunity to visit the Louisville Slugger Museum, Churchill Downs, and the Woodford Reserve.