Atwater FFA Students Qualify for Regional Speaking Finals

The Atwater High School FFA joined over 150 FFA speaking contestants, representing fifteen high school agriculture programs throughout Merced and Mariposa counties at the annual Merced-Mariposa FFA Public Speaking Sectional Finals at Merced College January 27th. The top four individual finalists in each speaking contest advance to the regional prelims in February. Atwater FFA had seven of the twenty sectional finalists advancing to the regional prelims next month.

Atwater High School agriculture students Stephania Valdovinos (2nd overall), Jennifer Velazquez (3rd overall), and Anna Lozano (4th overall) placed in the top four in Extemporaneous Speaking which qualifies them for the regional prelims. In Extemporaneous Speaking, students are presented with a choice of three questions related to agricultural current events and, in 30 minutes, prepare a seven-minute speech answering the selected question. Students may consult articles and evidence they gather prior to the contest, but may not use the Internet during preparation. Topics range from local-specific issues to national-world concerns relating to agriculture.

Atwater High School agriculture program senior Dillon Guillen placed 2nd overall in Prepared Public Speaking with senior Callie Norton (2nd overall) and Allison Melander (4th overall) also qualifying for the regional prelims. The three qualifying speeches covered topics on gene editing, farmer mental health, and farm security within the agriculture industry. The contest for all participants involves a 6-8 minute speech on an agriculture related topic/issue, a written manuscript which is scored, and a question and answer period between the contestant and judges following the speech. Alyssa Carrillo and Kaya Briscoe Mattis also participated and earned top finishes.

Atwater High School agriculture program sophomore Emmanuel Mejia placed 1st overall and will be moving onto the regional finals in the Impromptu Speaking contest. The impromptu speech is given without any preparation, any notes or other additional materials; it is a spontaneous reaction to an agriculture-related topic at hand which may introduce an interesting turn to the discussion. Emily Junez (5th overall), Lilianna Vargas, and Natalie Frontella also competed in the sectional finals.

Atwater High School agriculture program junior Anessa Cardenas placed 8th overall in the Job Interview contest which involves students completing a cover letter, resume, job application, and panel interview. This event emphasizes developing, practicing, and demonstrating skills needed when seeking employment.  Other Atwater FFA members that competed in the Job Interview contest included Joel Rojas, Jasmine Sandoval, and Daisy Flores-Mota, and .

Freshman agriculture students Luz Soto (5th overall) and Alyssa Carrillo (11th overall) made it to the section’s final round and placed in the top one-third of the competitors. This event is designed to recognize outstanding FFA members for their ability to present the FFA Creed from memory and answer questions on the meaning and purpose of the FFA Creed. The event is just one way FFA members can develop their ability to communicate in a powerful, organized and professional manner. Members boost their self- confidence and earn recognition. Litzy Suastigui and Cristal Venegas also competed in the section finals.

“Being a good communicator is one of the foundations off success towards personal and career development,” says Atwater FFA Advisor Kim Macintosh. “Our agriculture program is very proud of our students’ efforts, participation, courage, and enthusiasm in this event!”

For more information on the Atwater High School Agriculture Department and Atwater FFA, please log on the website .

Atwater High School Agriculture Department

Atwater FFA

PO Box 835  /  2201 Fruitland Ave

Atwater, CA  95301

Office:  209-357-6025

​Fax:  209-357-6067

January 2018

Sectional Speaking Finals

Atwater FFA