National FFA Week WIU Alumni Spotlight-Jerry Driscoll, 2007 alumnus
Jerry Driscoll is the agricultural educator and FFA advisor at Sigourney Community School District High School. He also serves as the Precision Agriculture instructor at the Keokuk County Career Academy. Jerry’s education at Western Illinois University put him on the right path to pursue such a fulfilling career. Jerry chose WIU for the same reasons as many current students do: the department is like family and each person is known as an individual, not a number.
“There were several reasons I chose to attend WIU. I had an older brother that went to WIU and had a great experience there. That is what really started me thinking about it. I am a livestock person at heart and have always been big into livestock judging. I had known Bruce Engnell for along time and really respected him as a livestock judging coach and livestock producer. With Bruce being the coach and having the opportunity to learn from one of the great livestock minds made the decision easy. Bruce set up a day for me to visit the campus and it was great. I really liked the fact that it was a smaller campus and everybody seemed to know each other. The Ag Department seemed to be extremely tight-knit. Knowing that I wanted to go into Ag Education, Bruce set a meeting for me with Dr. Andy Baker. That meeting really sealed the deal. Dr. Baker and I talked in great detail about his program and I realized I was not going to be just a number at a larger University. I had the feeling that I was going learn how to take my knowledge and passion for agriculture and pass it on to my students, rather than simply teach a topic.”
Sharing his passion is just what Jerry has done since graduation. “One of the proudest moments I have had in my career would have to be helping one of my students being recognized as the Star Over Iowa in Agribusiness. Helping my students succeed with their SAE’s and then have them rewarded for their hard work and skills that I taught them is a great feeling.”
Jerry credits Dr. Andy Baker as helping prepare him for a career in agricultural education. “Dr. Baker did a great job of challenging us every day. He tried to make classes as real life as possible. He knew my plans were to come back to Iowa to teach because I wanted to farm with my family as well. Dr. Baker did everything he could to help me learn the Iowa ways along with the Illinois ways of conducting agriculture classes and FFA programs.”
For the newest agricultural education graduates, Jerry encourages them to step outside of the box. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and try new things. Not every idea is going to work the way you planned it to but every now and then it works better than you could have imagined and those outcomes definitely outweigh the mistakes.”We are fortunate to have Jerry as an agricultural educator and are proud to call him a Leatherneck. To learn more about how his students are solving real-world problems, check out this article from the Iowa Department of Education. http://bit.ly/2kVXQjh