Atwater FFA Students Compete in State Skills Competitions
Fifty-six Atwater High School agriculture students filled a charter bus and two suburbans and joined (a record) 2000+ high school students representing nearly 100 high schools throughout central and northern California at the Arbuckle FFA Field Day on February 3rd while eighteen state-wide high schools competed the same day at Modesto Junior College for their annual Parliamentary Procedure Invitational contest involving fourteen Atwater High School FFA members. The FFA Field Day competitions mark the beginning of the FFA judging season where thousands of students throughout California compete in various Career Development Event (CDE) agriculture-related skill contests.
Atwater FFA competed in the Farm Business Management contest for the first time ever. The Farm and Agribusiness Management CDE helps students learn business skills and apply economic principles to agricultural businesses. To help close the achievement gap we will encourage students to better analyze farm records which will reinforce mathematics standards. The team comprised of Kelsi Kamesch, Belinda Espinoza, Sidney Miller, and Sydney Ramos placed 2nd overall. Other contestants included Liliana Vargas and Catalina Diaz.
The Atwater FFA Soils and Land Evaluation team placed 3rd overall with a team comprised of Audrey Esau (3rd overall), Jose Ruiz (7th overall), and Ethan Garcia. The contest helps students gain an understanding of the most basic need for all agricultural pursuits- healthy land on which to grow crops or raise livestock. Participants identify and evaluate soil samples for various indicators, grade plots of land for slope and drainage, and work to determine what type of activity the land would be best suited for.
The Atwater FFA Floral Judging team placed 3rd overall with a team composed of Arely Venegas (8th overall), Faith Ceja, Marissa Nuno, Hayley Vargas. The students competed in plant identification, arrangements, and floral skills. Other students who competed included Evelyn Iniguez and Marlen Espinoza.
The Atwater FFA Agronomy judging team placed 4th overall with Luz Soto (5th overall), Litzy Suastigui, Maria Ruelas, Flor Agundis leading the team. Elisabeth Garrner (7th overall) also participated in the contest as a team alternate. 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 top finish overall as students 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. Valerie Carlos, Anthony Hernandez, and Grace Reyes competed in the contest.
The Atwater FFA Ag Mechanics team competed and earned a top finish 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 Joel Rojas, Daisy Flores-Mota, and Marie Corado, Fabian Gonzalez. Other students who competed included Moria Conway and Perla Caballero.
The Atwater FFA Nursery and Landscape team earned a top finish with the team comprised of Noemi Perez, Cristal Venegas, and Vanessa Varela. The 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 an 8th 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.
Jessica Agundis and Lizbeth Arias competed in the Best Informed Greenhand (BIG) contest. The objective of the Best Informed Greenhand contest is to understand the aims, purposes, history, and structure of the Local, State, and National FFA student organizations and know the opportunities it makes available as referenced in the current National FFA Manual and State Constitution.
Another “first time” contest for Atwater FFA was the Vegetable Crops contest with Jonathan Garcia and Jose Montanez participating. The purpose of the contest is is to create interest and promote understanding in the vegetable crop industry by providing opportunities for recognition through the demonstration of skills and proficiencies. It is the intention of the contest to provide a venue for students to explore career opportunities, skills and proficiencies in the vegetable crop industry.
The Atwater High School FFA Advanced and Novice Parliamentary Procedure teams competed with eighteen other high schools at the Modesto Junior College Parliamentary Procedure Invitational. The advanced team placed 5th overall with the team comprised of Amily Junez, Michael Bray, Annessa Cardenas, Garrett Creighton, Natalie Frontella, Callie Norton, and Emmanuel Mejia. The Atwater FFA Novice Parliamentary Procedure team comprised of Nadani Perez, Celeste Chargoy-Velasco, Simerjot Gandhoke, Mayra Angeles, Isabel Murillo, and Jared Nickerson.
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 3rd 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.
For more information on the Atwater High School Agriculture Department and Atwater FFA, please log on the website www.AtwaterFFA.org .
Atwater High School Agriculture Department
PO Box 835 / 2201 Fruitland Ave
Atwater, CA 95301