Santa Maria High School’s Future Farmers of America alumni and students have received two special honors in the agricultural world.

The awards, which recognize community service and a dedication to agriculture in numerous ways, were given several weeks ago during the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis.

The group also spent some time sightseeing in New York City.

Santa Maria High School math teacher and FFA adviser Shelly Klein said the FFA program “inspires all students to be lifelong learners who can determine their own success.” The FFA also promotes “personal accountability and social responsibility” among other qualities, she added.

Several alumni received their American FFA Degree, the top achievement within the organization. The four who attended were Alejandro Gonzales, Jeff Klein, Jayme Llamas and Rosario Reyes.

SMHS FFA officers Jose Baroza, Valerie Canas, Yessica Hernandez and Susan Reyes were also on hand to accept the National Chapter Award.

SMHS FFA adviser Marc Debernardi’s 10 years of teaching and positively encouraging students about agriculture was also noticed with an Honorary American FFA Degree.

Senior FFA officer Jose Baroza described the event as “amazing.”

“I enjoyed meeting many people and seeing how different their agricultural community is from ours,’’ Baroza said.

FFA reporter Giselle Sanchez-Zuno, who provided the majority of information for this release, said the students enjoyed New York City and experiencing its different lifestyle, the Statue of Liberty, a Broadway show and other attractions, including taking a first airplane ride for some.

— Kenny Klein is the media contact for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.