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Stories of us: Altamont | Beecher City | Dieterich | Effingham | St. Anthony | Teutopolis

TECH is home on the farm.

Alex Sporleder Effingham High School

After the final bell on his senior year at Effingham High School, Alex Sporleder will be heading to Shelbyville to get his hands dirty at Sloan Implement in a summer job before starting class at Lake Land College’s highly respected John Deere TECH Program  in the fall. Farming is big business in Effingham County and it is in Alex’s blood. The technicians and mechanics entrusted to work on million dollar combines and tractors equipped with GPS systems as accurate as those used in the U.S. military are among the most highly skilled in America. Alex understands that today’s farmers must be prepared to deal with more variability and contend with greater market complexity than virtually any other business and this is the world for which Alex is preparing. He’s been solving science, technology, engineering, and math problems with his father and grandfather on their Centennial Farm in rural Effingham County since he was a young boy. Five generations of Sporleders have worked this farm before him and he is intent on being part of the sixth.


The country life suits Alex and he makes the most of it. When he isn’t operating or repairing equipment on the farm, he’s almost sure to be fishing, riding four-wheelers, or modifying his truck with friends. He and his dad plan to take up hunting next year, but it hasn’t been a huge part of his life so far. A respect for the land, hard work, and family are important through-lines for Alex. And while a traditional 4-year college path may not be his particular glass of sweet tea, he’s very much at home applying practical knowledge and understanding that he’s acquired through his vocational training and what he intends to learn at Lake Land College. 


Of all the things we discuss with students and their families, there is one thing that rings the bell the loudest, and that is ‘finding fit.’ The world needs lawyers, doctors, and people who run companies. It needs plumbers to fix our pipes and electricians to light our houses, but it especially needs people who grow and harvest our food. Without them, we don’t eat. Knowing what interests you, as a young person, isn’t always automatic. For some, it takes time and exploration — sometimes, years. For others, it’s as much a part of who they are as their kneecaps or the sound of their voice. Finding the answer to the ‘fit’ question is a real gift. Alex has found it. He’s going to help feed a hungry world, and it’s hard to do better than that.

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