Paying it forward: RLC donates to local high schools

INA, Ill. (Feb. 28, 2020) — Rend Lake College recently came bearing gifts for several local high school agriculture programs in the form of small and diesel engines.

RLC was able to donate several engines to agriculture programs at Webber High School, Benton Consolidated High School and Wayne City High School. The engines will give local students a chance to gain insight into the mechanical side of agriculture and diesel technology without creating a big expense for the high schools.

Wayne City webZack Vahlkamp, Rend Lake College Diesel Technology Instructor, poses with Wayne City FFA Alumni Members Isaac Loker and Chasidy Greenwalt after dropping off equipment for Wayne City High School’s agriculture program.

“Benton High School is very pleased to receive this donation from RLC,” said Benton High agriculture instructor Aaron Williams. “The engines donated will be used to support the Agricultural Mechanics program at BCHS and have a great impact on our mechanics curriculum and our students.”

Rend Lake College was able to pass along the equipment surplus after John Deere donated brand new engines to the college last semester. Heavy Equipment Technology Associate Professor Zack Vahlkamp said he noticed some of the high schools in RLC’s district needed additional equipment.

“We reached out to in-district high schools to help supply them with small engines, diesel engines and an old alignment machine,” Vahlkamp said. 

For Wayne City High School, the donation gives the agriculture program a chance to work with equipment that hasn’t been available since the school’s Ag Building was devastated by a fire in January 2018.

“This donation will be a valuable addition to our ag program. After losing our building and contents to a fire over two years ago, these donated items will give students new opportunities to excel their learning in educational fields they have not been exposed to for the past few years,” said Wayne City High agriculture instructor Jennifer Ehrhart.

In total, Wayne City took three Briggs & Stratton engines, five 656cc John Deere engines, one Kubota diesel engine and a Josam laser alignment rack. BCHS took three Briggs engines and five small John Deere diesel engines. And Webber High School took two small John Deere short block engines.  

“It is great to have a college in our area that cares so much about the future of their students and our students,” said Webber High School agriculture instructor Emily Lusby.

Vahlkamp said there are still a few more high schools that will receive donations.

Webber Bluford webRend Lake College Diesel Technology Instructor Zack Vahlkamp delivers engines to Webber High School agriculture instructor Emily Lusby. RLC donated two John Deere short block engines to Webber High School.  Benton webZack Vahlkamp with Rend Lake College shakes hands with Benton Consolidated High School’s Chris Head. Vahlkamp delivered engines on behalf of Rend Lake College to several area high schools.


Heavy Equipment Technology Associate Professor | Applied Science Division
Phone Extension: 7914
Building: Applied Science Center
Office: 114
A.A.S., Rend Lake College

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