(Horicon) The Horicon School District has received a $100-thousand-dollar donation from John Deere Horicon Works. Superintendent Rich Appel says the donation is “fantastic” and says it is exciting that the company is working with the district and supporting their programs.
Half of the donation will go toward the building of a new greenhouse for the school’s FFA program.
“This one was really important to us because we’re the longest running partner of FFA,” says Jeff Kennedy, Labor Relations Manager with John Deere, “and by sponsoring the greenhouse, employees – many of whom are FFA alum – can work hands on with students in the district.”
Appel notes that the agriculture department grows a lot of their own vegetables for their lunch program along with plants that are used both for fundraising sales and to beautify the community.
The other half of the six-figure donation will be used for planned upgrades to Horicon’s athletic facilities. Appel says the $3-million-dollar project would bring the football field and shuttered track onto one site at their newly renovated campus.
“We don’t have a place to host a meet or to practice,” Appel says, “to us that’s not a quality program [even though] three are over 50 students in it who are very competitive.” Appel notes the track team won conference this year without even having a track of their own.
The athletic upgrade is being paid for with donations, and Appel notes they are about $1-million dollars away from their goal.
Kennedy says John Deere is committed to being involved in the community.
“Being a large employer is more than about just jobs here but also we feel responsible to make sure we’re giving back.” He says adding that giving back is not only financial but also employee volunteer hours. Last year, John Deere had 4000 hours of volunteerism in Horicon.
John Deere has been in Horicon since 1911 when they purchased a building from Van Brunt Manufacturing.