According to a Monday news release from the California FFA Association, West High juniors Sebastian Aguirre and Katie Wasson and seniors Megan Maibes, Alex Russo and Jennifer Torres were all awarded their degrees, the first time five students from the West High FFA chapter have received the award at the same time.
Tracy High juniors Brooke Ornellas, MaryJo Perry and Lyndsee Cracraft and seniors Rachel Pombo (not pictured above) and Emily Thompson also received their degrees at the ceremony.
To earn the state degree, students each completed a supervised agriculture experience project, which required that they work a minimum of 500 hours and earn or invest $1,000. The students receiving the degree also competed in FFA events at the chapter and state levels, performed community service projects and completed three or more years of agriculture education.
At West High, Maibes and Wasson raised market swine for sale at the San Joaquin County Fair for their supervised agriculture experience projects.
Russo raised market poultry and swine for the county fair and grew pumpkins for sale at the West High FFA Fall Festival.
Aguirre’s supervised agriculture experience project was working with his family’s landscaping business on projects in Tracy and the Bay Area.
Torres raised a breeding rabbit to show at the San Joaquin County Fair and raised three puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, where she was a summer intern. She also did volunteer work at the Tracy Animal Shelter.
Tracy High’s Ornellas managed her own dairy cattle herd as her supervised agriculture experience project.
Perry exhibited market steers and a crossbred heifer at the county fair and other shows, while Pombo raised market hogs for several years for sale at the fair.
Cracraft’s project was owning and managing a small beef cattle herd and exhibiting cattle in local shows.
Thompson’s project included raising market sheep and purebred Southdown breeding sheep. She also owns a goat milk spa products business.
According to the California FFA Association, fewer than 3,000 students a year in California earn a state FFA degree, which is less than 5 percent of FFA students statewide.
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