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News from FFA
Posted On:
Thursday, March 18, 2021

Articles courtesy of Kenny Klein, SMJUHSD Public Information Officer

Nine representatives of the Pioneer Valley FFA will move on to the Regional Speaking Finals later this month to compete and qualify for the State Finals competition after a strong and successful showing at the Sectional Public Speaking Virtual Competition.

Sophomore Jasmin Olivera was named 4th high in the speaking competition labeled Impromptu. Only four individuals get to move on and Pioneer Valley FFA will have one of them from our school district. Jasmin was able to take an unknown question, quotation, and agriculture related word and instantly give a two-minute speech on its importance and application to agriculture and her life.

Pioneer Valley FFA had 1st and 3rd in a strong showing in the area of Prepared Public Speaking. Senior Marc Cabeliza was named Sectional Champion along with the classmate Jimena Diaz will be moving to Regionals. Seniors Cali Perez and Elizabeth Beebe will represent Pioneer Valley at Regionals for their showing in the extemporaneous public speaking contest. They were named Sectional Champion and 3rd runner up for their ability to research and prepare for twenty different agriculture related issues.

Students randomly draw a topic, and then, are given twenty minutes to prepare, and deliver a four-to-six-minute speech. When their speech is completed, they answer a variety of questions demonstrating their knowledge for the topic and their potential solution. Freshman Julissa Ruiz and Elina Estacio highlight the four students that qualify for Regional Finals in the area of Creed. Joining them will be Gracie Velazquez and Camila Uribe. Julissa Ruiz was 2nd overall while Elina Estacio was 4th overall at Sectional Finals. This performance was highlighted by our FFA Theme for this year entitled “Unite.”

Teacher Hector Guerra stated, “This year was one of the most challenging years to get our students prepared in a virtual setting, but as always, our students worked hard, practiced, and demonstrated that they are the best in the galaxy. We coaches are extremely proud of them as we continue working with those that made it on to regionals. Congratulations to all of them.”

The Pioneer Valley High School FFA recently hosted all six of the California State FFA Officer Team. This team was made up Dean Hill, State President from Templeton FFA, Emma Thorpe, State Vice President from Lakeside-El Capitan FFA, Mia Arisman, State Secretary from Galt FFA, Reese Golsalves, State Treasurer from Modesto FFA, Taylor Sollecito, State Reporter from Salinas FFA, and Maico Ortiz, State Sentinel from Galt FFA.

These high school graduates put their college plans on hold while they serve the California association for one year. They spend countless hours through their year of service putting on leadership conferences, sectional leadership nights, CDE department education meetings, and industry tours to further their knowledge of the Agriculture Industry, according to Panther Ag Teacher and FFA Advisor Gabe Ponce.

Last Thursday and Friday, they spent time on our Central Coast visiting our strong agriculture community and our outstanding students in our district. From the sands of Pismo Beach to the fields of strawberries and vegetables, they invested a few days getting to know our tremendous district and agriculture programs that we have to offer.

On one of their stops, they made a special presentation to Mr. Luis Guerra, Ag Teacher at Santa Maria High School, presenting him with his publisher’s sweepstakes check honoring him as the Nationwide Insurance sponsored Golden Owl Award Finalist recipient. This award goes to the state’s top outstanding agriculture educators. The Golden Owl Award is to recognize the countless hours, resources, and positive impact that Ag Teachers have on the lives of students. Article below. Six California Agricultural Teachers Celebrated as Finalists for Ag Educator of the Year – Golden Slate (

Other visits included POVE, Driscols, Peacock Farms, CTE Center, Site Principals and Administrators, and finally a sit down with our District Superintendent. Each student shared their story with Mr. Garcia and thanked him for continuing to support the Agriculture Programs in our district. They shared a similar vision that our students regardless of their background, that they can be involved in clubs like FFA, and by the time they graduate, that they will have “choices.” The choice to go to a trade school, junior college, or major university and study an area that they are passionate about. Their visit wrapped up on the campus of PVHS where our students welcomed them to our campus and highlighted the opportunities and type of students that FFA can produce.


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