Harvest Heritage: teacher wins Golden Owl Award as state’s top FFA advisor


TAYLORVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) – We want to congratulate Sue Schafer.

Shafer is the primary vocational-agriculture teacher at Taylorville High School and FFA advisor. But in the past school year, she was selected the top FFA advisor in Illinois, receiving the Golden Owl Award.

“I was pretty excited,” Shafer said. “This is a new award they give for the top ag teacher in the state of Illinois. There’s so many wonderful teachers, so I was really humbled and honored to win this award.”

We interviewed Shafer in a room where there are hundreds and hundreds of plaques of her students and all the victories they received in vo-ag and FFA. Those are her kids, she’s pretty proud of them, and they are one of the reasons she got the award.

“I am really proud of our kids,” Shafter said. “We have an incredible group of FFA members here and that’s because we have an incredible community that has a ton of parent support, and without that we could not accomplish the things that we do.”

Megan Coy, part of the state vo-ag support staff, says Schafer’s students are having their own impact.

“Sue Schafer’s had such a huge impact on her students, and you can see that all over the agriculture industry,” Coy said. “Students that have sat in Sue Schafer’s classroom are now leaders in livestock, they are leaders in ag finance, they are leaders at the state house. And they are back in the classroom inspiring their own students to become leaders within agriculture.”

“Over the years we’ve had four national winners which is very rare and hard to do,” Shafer said. “And one Star, which was Ben Curtin, and three national proficiency award winners as well as several national science fair winners.

What is her secret to success?

“I think one of the things I would say is never underestimate somebody’s ability. There are some kids out there where you think ‘I don’t know where they’re going to end up, what they’re going to do.’ Never underestimate what they can do and the power that they actually have.”

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