By Lauren McEwen
Past Exeter FFA Chapter Reporter
As FFA members hang up their blue corduroy jackets for the summer, the Exeter Agriculture Department looks upon its chapter with pride. With over 400 members in its program, the Exeter FFA Chapter hosts nearly half of EUHS students at its off-campus facilities.
Notable recent events at the Exeter Agriculture Department include the construction of a new greenhouse at 60 x 60 square feet. Its completion was the culmination of hard-working community members and chapter supporters. The greenhouse marks another milestone in the chapter’s history, as the facility will provide advanced learning experiences for students enrolled in horticulture classes.
Students from Exeter FFA also traveled up and down the state for various events. In April, Exeter FFA members attended the Sequoia Section Awards Banquet in Tulare where 19 received their State FFA Degree, the highest rank the California State FFA Association can bestow upon its members. Additionally, three were awarded for their excellency in proficiency projects, diversified skill development projects which direct students to established career pathways.
Chapter members also attended the annual California FFA State leadership conference in Anaheim from April 25-29, where they participated in hands-on workshops hosted by college students and FFA alumni from across the state. Students learned the value of teamwork and leadership; and also listened to numerous keynote speakers such as Tony Thurmond, California Superintendent for Public Instruction, Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and Lupita Cortez Alcalá, the Chief Deputy Superintendent of Schools. All emphasized the value of agricultural education, and the impact that California agriculture has brought to their lives. These speakers left each member feeling empowered, as the theme of the conference was “Believe.”
On May 16, the chapter hosted its final event of the year, the 79th Annual Awards Banquet, where 200 attendees were present. A component of the FFA motto “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn” was present throughout the ceremony, where each member was recognized for their participation in career development events and chapter activities. Nine high school seniors were also selected for scholarships by the Exeter Ag Boosters; three at $1,000 and six at $250.
The results of the 2019-2020 chapter officer team were also announced. President, Mayalina Puerner; Vice President, Madison Butler; Secretary, Lauren McEwen; Treasurer, Hailey Rudy; Reporter, Emily Farias; Sentinel, Alex Deniz; Historian, Justin Sorenson.
The Exeter Agriculture Department continues its culture of longevity and pride as members and advisers prepare for the upcoming school year. The department remains active during the summer with farm internships, livestock show teams, and horticulture development. The growing participation in the Exeter FFA Chapter is a constant reminder of the value of agronomy in Tulare County, and the necessity for agricultural education in the state of California.