PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Brad Johnson, a teacher at Robert A. Jamieson School in Peoria, was surprised with a “Homegrown Hero” award from the St. Louis Dairy Council.

Johnson received the award for outstanding work in agricultural education. He is the sole winner of the award for this year in the state of Illinois.

Among Johnson’s accomplishments include having his classes raise baby chickens and growing vegetables in front of the school. As the Jamieson School specializes in educating special needs students, Johnson said that his projects were some of the few supplemental activities that students could do outside of schoolwork.

“It’s one of the few extracurricular type of things that our kids can get involved in, and we’ve been to dairy farms and some other farms around here, we have a greenhouse where we grow vegetables and have a produce stand in front of the school, and so a lot of those experiences are things our kids haven’t gotten to do before,” Johnson said.

He also said that while it’s nice to be recognized, it shouldn’t be the point of what he does.

“It’s a nice compliment to me, but it’s more to just do good for the kids and not try to get awards for myself, but it is nice when somebody does give you a compliment and some recognition for the stuff you do,” Johnson said.