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February 2017
Arbuckle Field Day

Atwater FFA Students Earn High Honors at State Competitions

Thirty-five Atwater High School agriculture students filled a charter bus and joined (a record) 1300+ high school students representing nearly 100 high schools throughout central and northern California at the Arbuckle FFA Field Day on February 4th. The FFA Field Day marks the beginning of the FFA judging season where thousands of students throughout California compete in various agriculture skill contests. In Modesto, six Atwater FFA Novice Parliamentary Procedure students completed along with 30 other high school teams from as far south as San Luis Obispo to as far north as Orland at the annual Modesto Junior College Parliamentary Procedure Invitational.

The Atwater FFA Agronomy judging team placed 2nd overall with Dillon Guillen (1st overall), Kelso Kamesch  (2nd overall), Jennifer Valazquez, and Luz Soto leading the team. Other contestants included Felicity Garcia, Lj Sanchez, and Vanessa Verela. The Agronomy contest involves the study field crops and weeds with students responsible for the identification of nearly 200 crops and plants, seed, bean, and hay evaluation, and an oral presentation pertaining to their evaluations.

The Atwater FFA Milk Quality and Dairy Foods team earned a 2nd place overall team finish as they demonstrated their knowledge and skills in milk quality (tasting), cheese identification, real vs imitation dairy foods, and a written exam on the dairy industry. “We have a young, enthusiastic, and dedicated team that is developing their skills for future success,” said coach and FFA advisor Dave Gossman. Kendyll Cruz (4th overall),  Odalys De La Torre (8th overall), Callie Norton, Leivy Craig, Luke van Warmerdam, Jose Montanez, Joseph Hayward, and Natalie Frontella competed in the contest.

The Atwater FFA Ag Mechanics team competed and earned a 2nd place overall team finish as they demonstrated their woodworking, electrical, oxy-fuel welding & cutting skills, tool identification, and a written exam on all aspects of agriculture mechanics. “This contest is all about ‘hands-on’ application of skills,” said coach and FFA advisor Sam Meredith, “We look forward to the opportunity to continue developing our skills and competing against other highly skilled individuals and teams throughout the upcoming contests.” Members of the Ag Mechanics team included Daniel Mesa (2nd overall), Nathaniel Cavallero (6th overall), Joel Rojas, and Daisy Flores-Mota. Other students who competed included Justin Sorginson.

The Atwater FFA Floral Judging team placed 2nd overall with a team composed of Arely Venegas (3rd overall), Samantha Theodozio (9th overall), Ariana Freitas, and Liliana Vargas. The students competed in plant identification, arrangements, and floral skills. Other students who competed included Jessica Prado and Marissa Nuno.

The Atwater FFA Small Engines team placed 6tht overall as they demonstrated their skills and knowledge in small engine tool and part identification, engine theory, problem solving, and hands-on engine troubleshooting and repair. The team was composed of Zion Brigham, Ricardo Ortega, Madison Hall, and Mathew Rogers. “The opportunity for our students to be exposed to hundreds of other high school students engaged in skill application competition generated tremendous enthusiasm from the students,” said coach and FFA advisor Shelby West.

The Atwater FFA Nursery and Landscape team had a partial team complete with Daryl Dorsey placing 1st high individual and Jeff Clark placing 2nd high individual overall with their teammates competing at another contest. Both students demonstrated knowledge and skills in their plant identification, plant selection & evaluation, transplanting, and written exam on all aspects of horticulture and the horticulture industry.

Job Interview contest was led by a 9th place individual finish by Daisy Flores. The contest involves students completing a cover letter, resume, job application, and panel interview. This event emphasizes developing, practicing, and demonstrating skills needed when seeking employment. Kayla Briscoe placed 6th overall in the FFA Creed contest. Other participants included Emily Junez, Kaya Briscoe-Mattis, Ana Lozano.

The Atwater FFA Novice Parliamentary Procedure team placed 4th in their group at the Modesto Junior College Parliamentary Procedure Invitational with a team composed of Alyssa Carrillo, Mariah Castro, Michael Bray, Itzel Chavez, Hayley Vargas, Emmanuel Mejia, and Mayra Edith Alvarez.

This was the first contest of the year for the FFA Career Development Events (CDE’s) throughout the state of California. The primary judging season begins March 5th at at UC Davis followed by Chico State University followed by UC Davis, Merced College, Modesto Junior College, West Hills College, Reedley College, Fresno State University, and the 2017 FFA State Finals at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. The contests are developed for all California high school agriculture students where they are challenged to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a variety of agriculture pathways and industry sectors.

Audrey Esau
Atwater FFA Reporter