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Santa Maria FFA Named Outstanding Large Agriculture Program

Santa Maria FFA members include, front row from left, Alondra Novoa, Carla Fulgencio, Adriane Foster, Tanya Chavez, Daniel Carlon, Maria Onofre, Jacob Aguilara, Melissa Villapondo, Maria Ayala, Nicole Yerena, Dulce Espinoza Valdez, Gerardo Nevarez; middle row from left, Arley Ramirez, Savannah Moreno, Leslie Garcia, Noe Mendez, Santiago Aguilar, Danny Sanchez, Jorge Gonzales, Ricardo Gallardo; back row from left, Jose Rios, Diego Llmas, Julio Hurtado and Giovanni Rodriguez.
Santa Maria FFA members include, front row from left, Alondra Novoa, Carla Fulgencio, Adriane Foster, Tanya Chavez, Daniel Carlon, Maria Onofre, Jacob Aguilara, Melissa Villapondo, Maria Ayala, Nicole Yerena, Dulce Espinoza Valdez, Gerardo Nevarez; middle row from left, Arley Ramirez, Savannah Moreno, Leslie Garcia, Noe Mendez, Santiago Aguilar, Danny Sanchez, Jorge Gonzales, Ricardo Gallardo; back row from left, Jose Rios, Diego Llmas, Julio Hurtado and Giovanni Rodriguez. (Santa Maria Joint Union High School District photo)

The Santa Maria FFA has been named the Outstanding Large Agriculture Program in the South Coast Region for the 2014-15 school year.

The group was honored during the State FFA South Coast Regional Degree Ceremony at the Clark Center in Arroyo Grande on March 29, according to Shannon Powell, who is part of the SMHS Agriculture Department. More than 150 teachers, students and parents attended.

“This is a nice honor for the program to achieve," department chair Marc DeBernardi said. “We have nine hardworking agriculture teachers, talented and hardworking students, and a supportive administration and community members. Put it all together and that is why we have enjoyed the success that we have the past few years. South Coast Region is a competitive region with many good agriculture programs, we are honored to win this award for the second time in three years.”

SMHS English teacher Carlyon Sherry was honored as the South Coast Regional Star Regional Faculty/Staff Member for her many hours of dedication and support of the FFA program. Assistant Principal Paul Robinson was recognized as the Santa Barbara Sectional FFA Star Administrator for his continual support of the FFA Program.

Proficiency Awards were also presented to nine students with excellent work experience or ownership projects based on an application and their student record books. The awards honors students who have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward their future careers.

Two students have qualified as State Finalist in their respective proficiency area. The two state finalists are junior Alondra Novoa, who has qualified in the area of Agriscience Research Animal Systems, and graduate Adrianne Foster in the area of Veterinary Science. Both will compete at the state competition at California State University-Fresno in late April.

Lastly, 42 students earned their State FFA Degree. The State FFA Degree is the highest degree a member can receive by the State FFA Association. In order to qualify, members must have earned and productively invested at least $1,000 and worked 500 hours in excess of scheduled class time on an agriculture related project and have a record of outstanding leadership abilities and community involvement.

“Earning 42 state degrees adds credibility to the hard work that is being done by our FFA students and the advisors that work with them," Luis Guerra said.

— Kenny Klein is a public information officer for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

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