By: Maggie Maratsos, Heritage High School
We are happy to report that so much has happened down in the Southern Region in the past few months that, despite everything going on in the world now, there is much to be thankful for! We are making adjustments, staying flexible, and preparing for some online LDE and CDE competitions. Our Zoom Southern Region meeting went off with minimal technical issues, and was full of lots of news, BINGO, funny videos, professional fellowship and camaraderie. Here’s just a few of the things Southern Region has to be thankful for:
- Serrano had a bountiful harvest of a whopping seven pomegranates, their program received new tables and chairs for their Ag. Mechanics shop and they have a brand-new website.
- El Centro gave back during the National Day of Service, fostered connections with a mentoring program called “Bigs and Littles” and hosted a virtual escape room for the entire Imperial Section.
- Don Lugo has added a floriculture program to their department, has started a new SAE rabbit project, and has expanded their sheep breeding program.
- Buena Park has hosted virtual leadership activities for a full week every month since school started, such as a Leadership Chat, an AET Workshop, a Life and Safety Workshop and community service opportunities.
- Mission Viejo is keeping up with their SAE projects; they have hydroponics systems, participated in the virtual Orange County Fair, are running a barn cat training program and are maintaining steer projects and laying hen projects.
- La Habra students were able to take a virtual field trip, over several Zoom sessions, to the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research and learn all about research methodology and conservation methods.
- Hemet’s farm stand is still up and running, selling jams, eggs and produce to the public every Sunday.
- Rubidoux has been focusing on virtual FFA activities and maintaining member participation, giving out prizes for members at the online activities.
- Elsinore has constructed two new greenhouses, one just for hydroponics. They also have a brand-new orchard with over 40 fruit and nut trees.
- San Jacinto has had two community farm days, during which times they planted seeds and created a chicken coop. They are staying busy with virtual FFA meetings, too!
- Heritage recently had an online plant and pumpkin sale and were able to raise over $1,000 for the department! The department was pleased that its first foray into large-scale pumpkin production was a success!
- Perris was able to give out yard signs and sashes to all of its program-completers at the end of last school year. They were also able to give out over $4,000 in scholarships, with the help of their community. Students were able to participate in the virtual SoCal Fair, as well!
- Norco is keeping up with online learning and making it work at their department. Despite the challenges of remote learning, they are doing a great job staying connected with their students!
- Poway has been working with local Boy Scouts to restore and revitalize their school farm, and has hosted an Adopt-A-Family Drive, where students donated canned goods and new materials to families in need. Students also made floral arrangements for a district event honoring employees and volunteers of the year, as well as sponsors. They also participated in the virtual San Diego and Ramona fairs. They were able to get new scales for their livestock area!
While we can’t be together in person, the can-do spirit of the Southern Region is still holding strong! This reporter hopes that, wherever you are, you took the time during this Thanksgiving Break to recharge and gear up for the last few weeks of the semester so you can finish strong, just like the fabulous chapters in the Southern Region. Take care of yourselves and each other, have a great holiday season, and here’s to a (better) new year!
For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/