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Eagles to Soar at National FFA Convention

PHOTOS COURTESY OF EL CENTRO FFA OF SOUTHWEST HIGH SCHOOL

Last year there were many barriers in place for schools across the country to be involved and stay active in clubs and organizations. This was not the case for El Centro FFA of Southwest High School, which found unique ways to engage students and help them soar.

In late October, eight El Centro FFA members will take the national stage at the National FFA Convention & Expo as they showcase their hard work and efforts this past year.

The 94th National FFA Convention will be held Oct. 27-30 in Indianapolis, Indiana. With five American Degree recipients, two National Delegates, and one National proficiency award finalist, El Centro will definitely be making a splash at this year’s national convention.

Seniors Daniela Bastidas and Andrew Angulo from the El Centro FFA chapter were selected to serve as national delegates at the national convention. In three weeks, both students will fly out to Indiana to participate in national delegate meetings to ensure the FFA remains a student-led organization.

Daniela and Andrew are two of 38 students selected to represent California FFA. The National FFA Delegate Experience ensures that the National FFA organization remains a student-led organization that serves students all across the United States, reaching from the state of Alaska to Puerto Rico, and from the state of Maine to Hawaii.

Each year, during the National FFA Convention & Expo, the delegate experience brings together 475 student leaders from across the nation. Delegates come from each of the organization’s 52 state associations to share ideas and perspectives that propel the organization forward.

Each year California FFA Association elects a limited number of students across the state to represent California FFA at the national level.

This year, Francisco Rocha of the El Centro FFA chapter placed first in the state for the Agricultural Processing Proficiency Award, where he has moved onto the national level and has qualified as top four in the nation for this proficiency area. He will take stage Oct. 28 to find out if he is the Agricultural Processing Proficiency Award national winner.

Agricultural Proficiency Awards honor FFA members who, through supervised agricultural experiences, have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward their future careers.

Nationally, students can compete for awards in nearly 50 areas ranging from agricultural communications to wildlife management. Proficiency awards are also recognized at local and state levels and provide recognition to members that are exploring and becoming established in agricultural career pathways.

Each year, the National FFA organization honors FFA members who show the utmost dedication to the organization through their desire to develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The American FFA Degree is bestowed upon a select group of students in recognition of their years of academic and professional excellence.

This year 3,863 members will be awarded their American Degrees. Out of those members, Madison Mills, Ivanna Valenzuela, Kandyce Johnston, Malei Tipton, and Mirella Saasta, members of the El Centro FFA chapter from El Centro, will be awarded the American FFA Degree at the 94th National FFA Convention & Expo on Oct. 30.

To be eligible, FFA members must have earned and productively invested $10,000 through a supervised agricultural experience program in which they own their own business or hold a professional position as an employee. Recipients must also complete 50 hours community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and civic involvement through completion of a long list of FFA and community activities.

Fewer than 1 percent of FFA members achieve the American FFA Degree. Each recipient of the American FFA Degree receives a gold American FFA Degree key and certificate after being recognized at the National Convention. This is the largest group of members El Centro FFA has had earn their American Degree since its inception in 1930.

Daniela Bastidas is El Centro FFA’s reporter.

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