Jerry Brockett receives $10,000 grant


photo by Ellie Fitzpatrick

Brockett receives $10,000 grant for the Meridian Ag program. Brockett didn’t know he was receiving the grant and thought someone was making a donation to the program.

On September 17, at 1 pm, Jerry Brockett was awarded a $10,000 grant by the Illinois Agricultural Association (IAA). The IAA only gives out four of these grants each year, and among those four, Brockett was chosen due to his vision and commitment to the Meridian Ag program.

The grant program was put into place by the Illinois Farm Bureau to award and incentivize Ag education majors who have become teachers, it is a recruitment and retention program.

“We ask new teachers to reflect on their goals, both their goals for their classroom, their FFA program, and their professional goals,” said Susan Moore, who works for the IAA and was the one to officially award Brockett with the grant. “We ask them to set some short and long term goals for the program and what it means to be an ag teacher. From that, we select four teachers who we feel have great potential to help students in Illinois and people who are dedicated to continuing to be teachers.”

Brockett had no idea he was receiving the grant, instead, he thought someone was simply making a donation to the Ag program. A group of FFA members and students were gathered by the site for the future Ag building along with fellow staff members. To his surprise, the event had been set up to recognize Brockett’s great achievement to help support the program and him as a teacher.

“I didn’t know until like last second. I thought we were just getting a check for the building so I was sitting here wondering when are we going to get this, but it was just crazy because I forgot I applied,” Brockett said.

There is some leeway in what the grant can be used for as long as it is going into the Ag program or an Ag-related part of the program such as FFA.

“The nice thing about this grant is that it will definitely go directly back into his classroom or into his program one way or another. Students will see a benefit from it either through additional things he’s able to buy and use in class or through the FFA program,” Eric Hurelbrink, Meridian High School principal said.