Southern Region News

By: Maggie Maratsos, Heritage HS

Hello from the sunny Southern Region! As summer winds down, many of us, for the first time in many years, have just experienced a surreal summer completely devoid of student animal projects, fairs, or in some cases, personal travel to get away from it all before school starts again. Like so many other schools across the country, the Southern Region is largely headed back to school online; with that in mind, like many members of our CATA family, we’ve had to adapt quickly to the dramatic changes in the education world. Through efforts from multiple parties (and many, many Zoom meetings), our region has compiled databases of online resources for teachers to use (link 1 here, link 2 here). It’s been truly inspiring to watch so many Ag teachers tackle this new challenge head-on, despite worries, stress, and doubts.

With everything else in our world going virtual this year, the Southern Region is also going virtual this fall for our regional meeting and in-service tours. The regional officer team is excited to plan this out and for the opportunities this may provide to all Southern Region teachers.

In spite of everything being turned upside down this year, Southern Region programs and teachers have been able to push through the turmoil and find success.  Here are some of the highlights:

Student Successes

  • Numerous high individuals in state contests
  • Lakeside Middle School sweeped every category of the Division I and Division II state Agriscience Fair
  • El Capitan High School won 5th in the state Floriculture contest
  • El Capitan High School won the state title in the AET Farm Records contest
  • Mountain Empire High School won 5th in the AET Farm Records contest
  • Don Lugo High School placed 4th in the Light Horse Judging contest
  • Perris High School won the state title in Vegetable Crop Judging
  • Perris High School placed 2nd in the state Nursery/Landscape contest
  • Heritage High School placed 3rd in the state Nursery/Landscape contest
  • Sunny Hills High School placed 2nd in the state Fruit Tree Judging contest

Professional Accolades

  • Two Teachers of Excellence, Jessica Fernandes and Marc Reyburn
  • One Hall of Fame Inductee, Gary Lesh
  • One Golden Owl nominee (and retiree!) Mike Campbell

The Future of Agriculture

We have eleven individuals that are new to the profession joining our ranks this year; we wish them well on their new adventures, and we can’t wait to start collaborating with them as colleagues!

  • Jerryca Haller, Imperial
  • Carson Conkright, Holtville
  • Audrey Lent, Poway
  • Donna Silva, San Marcos
  • Lisa Antonelli Clunnis, Littlerock
  • Mari Cox, Rosamond
  • Caylin Daviscourt, Norco
  • Justin Evans, Perris-Citrus Hill
  • Barbara Tuyen, Don Lugo
  • Nina Feretti, La Habra
  • Ryan Mudry, Orange

In closing, in these times of stress and confusion, it’s important to remember a few things: 1.) Setting the goal to become a master of online learning overnight is an impossible standard to live up to, 2.) Being kind and forgiving to yourself for not knowing all the answers during this time will save you (some) sanity, and 3.) Give yourself some time to just reflect on the big, key ideas that you need to teach in your classes. Don’t forget to take some time for yourself, too, as online learning begins. Our Ag Ed family is strong and resourceful–remember to reach out for tips, tricks, advice, or ideas if you need to!

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