‘An impactful event’

Issue Date: May 2, 2018
By Hunter Andrade
Hunter Andrade

A student from urban San Diego. A student from the rice fields of Northern California. A student wanting to pursue veterinary medicine. A student wanting to pursue a communications degree. All of these students have something in common: They are FFA members.

California is unique with our diverse population, but students with various backgrounds can find common ground within agricultural education.

California FFA is approximately 89,000 members strong, and just over 7,000 of them made a trip to Anaheim to experience that diversity at the 90th California State FFA Leadership Conference, held last week.

With ACTIVATE as the theme, students were encouraged to remain anchored in service, values and agriculture throughout the year, but were challenged to ACTIVATE by utilizing their skills and talents to progress their experience.

At state conference, we embraced the messages of keynote speakers and new ideas in our career and college exposition. Students heard inspiring addresses from the retiring 2017-18 State FFA officer team.

FFA chapter delegates dove into how to further involve middle-school members and serve our current member population, while improving how we interact with the industry and its leaders. This delegate process is unique, as FFA is the largest student-led organization.

Members who excelled in their project areas were awarded Proficiency Awards and STAR Awards. The organization also recognized the critical role of school staff with the STAR Administrator, Counselor, Advisor and Supporting Staff. State winners will represent California, competing for national recognition. With the help of our FFA Foundation and generous sponsors, scholarships were awarded to numerous students.

A highlight of the conference is selecting the next state officer team. The process began with 76 applicants completing the exam, and 35 were invited to interview in Anaheim. Twelve members responded to impromptu questions on stage. Delegates interacted and evaluated candidates at a meet-and-greet before voting on candidates.

The California FFA 2018-19 officer team includes: President Matt Rosa of the El Diamante FFA Chapter of Visalia; Vice President Kyler Vernon of the Nipomo FFA Chapter; Secretary Aalexias Woolf of the Bakersfield-North FFA Chapter; Treasurer Devin Griffith of the Arbuckle-Pierce FFA Chapter; Reporter Kyle Dayton of the Jurupa Valley FFA Chapter of Mira Loma; and Sentinel Orrin Jones of the Live Oak FFA Chapter.

Thank you to the many businesses and individuals who contribute to FFA. It is because of our FFA Foundation, sponsors, and members of the agriculture industry who have rallied behind us consistently that we are able to host such an impactful event.

It is because of all the organizations, businesses and people who dedicate time and financial support into not only our convention but into our students, that we are able to continue to serve the members of California FFA and ACTIVATE their potential.

(Hunter Andrade of Tracy served as 2017-18 reporter for the California FFA.)

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.