Billenstein honored by Versailles FFA


VERSAILLES — Darren Billenstein is a senior at Versailles High School and participates in the Agriculture Education Capstone Program and has been selected as the capstone highlight student of the month. The Versailles Agriculture Education Capstone Program is in its 11th year of existence. Billenstein is the son of Jason and Kelly Billenstein of Versailles. Capstone is a program that gives Versailles High School Junior and Senior Students that are enrolled in agriculture education an opportunity to gain real world employment experiences and opportunities while in high school.

Billenstein started working at Gehret Nursery in Spring of 2022 and has continued to work throughout his senior year and has worked over 900 hours. His primary roles at Gehret Nursery Inc. includes mulching, planting trees and shrubs, trimming shrubs, landscaping, edging, installing yards and assisting with hardscaping projects. Ted Gehret, the owner of Gehret Nursery Inc. said, “Darren is a hard worker, he’s polite and well mannered, does well at achieving whatever job we ask him to do. He’s very helpful to the success of our company.”

Gehret Nursery, Inc. is a full-service landscaping company that services Darke, Miami, Shelby, Mercer and Auglaize counties. They focus on lawn care, mulching, fertilization, spraying, landscape installation, hardscapes, and snow removal.

This year, 34 students are enrolled in the Versailles Agriculture Education Capstone programs and are leaving school after their daily required courses are complete and working at area businesses. The goal of the spotlight is to highlight each month one of the students that participate in the capstone program and highlight the skills/knowledge they are gaining, the roles/assets they are to their business. The students enrolled in capstone also use their employment as their Supervised Agricultural Experience Program. As part of their grade in capstone, students are required to keep detailed records of their hours worked, earnings and skills performed. In addition to the record books, capstone students are being evaluated at the end of each nine weeks by an evaluation completed by their employer.

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