DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - It's program designed to incorporate agriculture into the classroom. The Dwayne Andreas Ag Academy is in full swing in Decatur Public Schools.
"We're in the heart of agribusiness, we're in the richest farm land in the world," explains Zach Shields, the Executive Director of Decatur Public Schools Foundation.
With the help of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Decatur Public Schools are bringing farm life to the city life by creating an agriculture based curriculum. The $1.65 million dollar donation will bring agriculture educators at Eisenhower and MacArthur High Schools. The academy will also incorporate a Living Science Farm.
"We want to help our kids get into the right jobs and careers. The spectrum of opportunity if very wide," explains Shields.
The Dwayne Andreas Ag Academy will also link students up with professionals in the agribusiness industry. On Friday, students at Eisenhower High School were able to meet and talk with the National Future Farmers of America President, Breanna Holbert.
Holbert is from California and grew up in the city just like Decatur students. She travels around the United States talking with students about FFA, and why it's important to get involved in the organization.
"I told them, look I'm from the same background as you. You don't necessarily have to be from a farm, even though it's Future Farmers of America," explains Holbert.
So far, the Dwayne Andreas Ag Academy has 202 students enrolled in the program. Currently students are taking classes like introduction to agriculture and horticulture. Shields explains, there much more to come. They plan to build greenhouses at each high school.