Vaccine Mandate for California Students Announced

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

At the beginning of October, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a COVID vaccine mandate for California students 12 years of age and up.

The Governor’s office also stated that teachers and school staff would be held to the same vaccination standard and timeline under the new requirement. Currently, teachers and staff can provide proof of vaccination or submit a weekly COVID test (Gutierrez, 2021)

First, the mandate cannot go into effect until COVID vaccines are fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Currently, vaccines for students 12-15 only have emergency authorization by the FDA. Therefore, the mandate would not go into effect until the next term after approval. Terms are either January 1st or July 1st. Most experts predict that won’t happen until July 2022 (Gutierrez, 2021)

The mandate will apply to all students at public or private schools in California. A student not vaccinated may participate in independent study but may not participate in in-person instruction (Gov.Ca.Gov).

The mandate from the Governor includes exemptions for medical and personal beliefs. As stated on the ‘California Get Vaccinated’ page, “Requirements established by regulation, not legislation, must be subject to the exemption for both medical reasons and personal beliefs” pursuant to HSC section 120338. Therefore, simply stated because the mandate was established by regulation instead of legislation, it must allow for personal exemption (Gov.Ca.Gov)

Legislation passed by the Assembly and Senate and signed by the Governor could be more restrictive. The California legislature reconvenes on January 3, 2022, to start the next legislative cycle. Several lawmakers are considering legislation to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of school-required shots that qualify only for medical exemptions. 

Currently, students are required to have the following immunizations to attend school in California: Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Varicella (Chickenpox), Mumps, Rubella, Hepatitis B, Polio, Haemophilus influenzae type B, and Measles (  

Five California districts have approved a student vaccination mandate on their own. Those districts include: Culver City Unified, L.A. Unified, Oakland Unified, Piedmont Unified, and San Diego Unified (Gov.Ca.Gov). Several lawsuits have already been filed against districts in response to the mandates.   

Many details of the mandate have yet to be determined, and the landscape of education has constantly changed during the last two years due to the pandemic. The FDA and the California State Legislature have yet to weigh in on the topic of vaccinating California students. It will likely be the summer of 2022 before the specifics are worked out. 

National Convention Results

By: Charles Parker, California Department of Education, State FFA Advisor

WOW! It was fantastic to see students experiencing, for many, their first in-person conference. National FFA and the city of Indianapolis should be commended on the success of hosting the 94th Annual National Convention and Expo.

The 2021 event was well attended, with 60,700 registered participants. A BIG thank you to the CDE Staff for their leadership and support. Jackie, Jill, JessaLee, Shay, Hugh, and Greg each had a responsibility at convention that enabled students to have memorable experiences. I am extremely proud of the participation of California and congratulate those that were able to participate in one or more of the events or competitions.

California’s results are:

Agriscience Fair

Animal Systems-2 Savannah Tarrant/Briley McKinney, Wheatland-Bear River – National Finalist

Animal Systems-3 Ella White, St. Helena – National Finalist

Animal Systems-4 Jocelyn Feaster/Anna Scruggs, Elk Grove – National Finalist

Animal Systems-5 Angela Fernandes, Turlock – National Finalist

Animal Systems-6 Catherine Peterson/Gloria Martinez Mota, Tracy-Merrill West – National Finalist

Enviro Sci Systems-1 Travis White, Wheatland-Bear River – National Finalist

Enviro Sci Systems-3 Brennan Elszy, Hanford – National Winner

Enviro Sci Systems-5 Brenna Pauls, St. Helena – Bronze 

Enviro Sci Systems-6 Kaylee Moura/Anahi Almanza, St. Helena – National Finalist

Food Prod Systems-1 Alexis Phillips, Wheatland-Bear River – National Finalist

Food Prod Systems-3 Mikayla Cortez, Hanford – National Finalist

Food Prod Systems-5 Brendan Latronica, Elk Grove – National Finalist

Food Prod Systems-6 Avery Coelho/Emma Coelho, Tulare – National Finalist

Plant Systems-1 Nathaniel Brockhoff, Wheatland-Bear River – National Finalist

Plant Systems-3 Madeline Sullivan, St. Helena – National Finalist

Plant Systems-4 Gannon Strahm/Monserath Felix, Holtville – Bronze 

Plant Systems-5 Ashtyn Taylor, St. Helena – National Finalist

Plant Systems-6 Marilyn Mendoza/Jeremy Freitas, Exeter – National Finalist

Power Systems-2 Conrad Burrow/Wyatt Hart, Wheatland-Bear River – National Finalist

Power Systems-3 Paige Camacho, O’Neals-Minarets – National Finalist

Power Systems-4 Jasmine Castro/Daniel Ledezma-Zarate, Holtville – Bronze 

Power Systems-5 Brandon Forgie, St. Helena – National Finalist

Social Systems-2 Alexa Franklin/Chasidy Sills, Wheatland-Bear River – National Finalist

Social Systems-3 Talia Ricci, St. Helena – National Finalist 

Social Systems-4 Emily Pan/Talia Zundel, San Luis Obispo – National Winner

Social Systems-5 Olivia Smith, St. Helena – National Finalist

Social Systems-6 Ivan Robledo/Antonio Santoyo, St. Helena – National Finalist

American Degree Recipients

Hailey Aceves, Visalia-Golden West 

Valeria Acosta, Woodland

Rafael Acosta III, Shafter

Travis Affonso, Linden

Butch Aguiar, Petaluma

Hunter Ahrens, O’Neals-Minarets 

Camille Alamot, Gustine

Ricardo Alberto, King City

Bailey Alexander, Palo Cedro-Foothill 

Garrett Alford, O’Neals-Minarets 

Mitchell Almind, Forestville-El Molino 

Brittany Alvarez, Firebaugh

Crystal Alvarez, Marysville

Jesus Amador, Gonzales

Alissa Amaral, Tulare

Ashlee Anderson, Turlock

Ana Andrade, Porterville-Monache 

Austin Andres, Paso Robles

Natalie Anselmo, O’Neals-Minarets 

Kylie Applemun, Elk Grove

Tristan Aranda, Bakersfield-North 

Adasyn Arechiga, Visalia-Golden West 

Sergio Arellano, Madera

Alondra Arias, Santa Maria

Nicole Arias, Julian

Katelyn Arieas, Riverdale

Mia Arisman, Galt

Jose Armenta, King City

Mackenzie Arnold, Mariposa

Audrey Arntz, Petaluma

Lizbeth Arroyo, Santa Maria

Carlee Austin, Sebastopol-Analy 

Paige Autry, Paso Robles

Gerardo Avalos, Turlock

Salvador Avalos-Estrada, Merced-Golden Valley 

Jonathan Avila, Hanford

Makayla Avila, Visalia-El Diamante 

Tyler Avila, Porterville

Christy Awalt, Paso Robles

Christopher Ayala, Merced-Golden Valley

Gianna Azevedo, Gustine

Caleb Bairos, Oakdale

Hailey Baldwin, Escondido

Carlos Ballesteros, Madera

Bailey Banducci, Bakersfield-Independence 

Cassidie Banish, Paso Robles

Brooke Barredo, Santa Maria-Righetti 

America Barros, Calipatria

Tavin Barry, Oakdale

Cody Bartholomew, Oakdale

Dilan Basila, O’Neals-Minarets 

Nicole Batezell, Oakdale

Dominic Batteate, Oakdale

Alexys Bautista, St Helena 

Jonah Beals, Hughson

Blake Beck, Galt

Seraphina Bedoyan, Clovis-Clovis East 

Mariah Berbena, Turlock-Pitman 

Bryan Berczynski, Visalia-VTEC 

Oceana Berumen, Bakersfield-Foothill 

Jason Besanceney, Fortuna

Bryson Bettencourt, Modesto-Thomas Downey 

Nathan Bettencourt, Exeter

Sophia Bianchi, Sebastopol-Analy

Hailey Bjerknes, Valley Center

Emma Blair, Elk Grove-Pleasant Grove 

Sterling Blom, Modesto

Austin Blomquist, Hanford

Brileigh Blosser, Healdsburg

Stella Boller, San Luis Obispo

Darren Borba, Gustine

Carolyn Boster, Turlock-Pitman 

Austin Boteilho, Salinas-Everett Alvarez 

Christopher Bowe, O’Neals-Minarets 

Garrett Bowe, O’Neals-Minarets 

Ashley Bowman, Clovis-Clovis East 

Katherine Boynton, Morgan Hill-Live Oak 

Jeremy Bradley, Napa-Vintage 

Justin Bradley, Santa Maria

Michael Bray, Atwater

Brianna Brazil, Ferndale

Dalton Breazeale, Oakdale

Ethan Breese, Paso Robles

Mallory Brenner, Ripon

Belinda Brookins, Weaverville-Trinity 

Abigayle Brown, Elk Grove-Pleasant Grove 

Jacob Brown, Paso Robles

Leea Brown, Tulelake

Sterling Brown, Lakeside-El Capitan

Isis Brownlow, Shafter

Sara Burch, Oakdale

Paul Burcham, Firebaugh

Mark Bush, Blythe-Palo Verde

Joshua Caballero, King City

Miguel Cachu, Dorris-Butte Valley 

Colton Calbreath, Hughson

Juan Camacho, Santa Maria

Mackenzie Camacho, O’Neals-Minarets 

Samantha Campbell, Sutter

Thomas Campbell, Ripon

Joel Campos, King City

Carmen Cantu, Madera

Crystal Carbajal, Nipomo

Omar Carbajal, King City

Julia Cardin, Chico

Mary Carli, Clarksburg-Delta 

Bailey Caron, Sebastopol-Analy 

Cody Carr, Paso Robles

Melanie Carroll, Salinas

McCoy Castanos, Lakeside-El Capitan

Jose Castillo, Merced-Golden Valley 

Lluvia Castillo, Dorris-Butte Valley 

Naomi Castro, Hollister-San Benito 

Samantha Caughie, Sebastopol-Analy 

Tayler Chamberlain, Fortuna

Jordyn Chance, Livingston

Grace Chandless, Arroyo Grande

Harrison Chang, Newman-Orestimba 

Justin Chapman, Willows

Dulce Chavez, King City

Joseph Chavez, Madera

Lucas Cheda, Petaluma

Casey Chicoine, Middletown

Kellie Clark, Bakersfield-Frontier 

Allie Clemons, Sebastopol-Analy 

Boyd Clifton, King City

Dallas Climer, Turlock-Pitman 

Emileigh Clinton, Salinas

Audrey Cockrell, Sanger

Blain Cole, Denair

Stephen Cole, Napa-Vintage 

Madisen Collier, Sebastopol-Analy 

Jaclynn Collins, Newman-Orestimba 

Garrett Colvin, Bakersfield-Foothill 

CorriAnne Cook, Paso Robles

Michael Copus, Merced-Golden Valley 

Alexa Cordoza, Merced-Golden Valley 

Matthew Corona, La Habra-Sonora 

Camila Cortes Padilla, Santa Maria-Righetti 

Jacqueline Cortez, Madera

Raelyn Cortez, Santa Maria-Righetti

Clay Costa, Tulare

Joshua Crain, Bakersfield-Independence 

Katie Crawshaw, Kingsburg

Giovanna Crayton, Hughson

Ryan Cromer, Jackson-Argonaut 

Darlene Cuellar, Dinuba

Eduardo Cueva, Bakersfield-Foothill

Julienne Damm, Arroyo Grande

Levi Davis, Porterville

Brooke Day, Woodland-Pioneer 

Karina Dayka, Carpinteria

Jackson De Jager, Merced-Stone Ridge Christian

Fallon Decious, Vacaville

Linzee DeGraff, Marysville

Aunika Del Real, Clovis-Clovis East 

Marcus Delgadillo, Merced-Golden Valley 

Mackenzie Demmers, Firebaugh

Nayeli Deniz, King City

Camille Descamps, San Luis Obispo

Jackson Dias, Turlock

Adan Diaz, Clovis-Clovis East 

Ricardo Diaz, Dinuba

Jesus Diaz Aguilera, Dinuba

Aileen Diaz Flores, Shafter

Nicole Diez, Paso Robles

Maria Dominguez Argueta, Greenfield

Josephine Doolittle, Anderson

Mark Doss, Nipomo

Timothy Drury, Red Bluff

Nicholas Duft, Nipomo

Lauren Dutra, Hanford

Anne Dykstra, Visalia-El Diamante 

Garrett Earl, Paso Robles

Justin Earl, Paso Robles

Joseph Echarte, Esparto

Austin Edwards, Galt

Owen Ellis, O’Neals-Minarets 

Trevor Enriquez, Willows

Alejandra Enriquez-Aquino, Santa Rosa-Elsie Allen 

Kellen Ernst, Santa Maria-Righetti 

Luke Ervin, Galt

Alex Esau, Durham

Ivanna Estrella, El Centro-Southwest 

Jared Evangelho, Lemoore

Ty Evans, San Luis Obispo

Sarah Fee, Loyalton

Jordan Fenton, Loomis-Del Oro 

Jacob Fernandes, Tulare

Madelyn Fernandes, Tulare

Dusty Flack, Julian

Colby Flatt, Atwater

Jordan Fletcher, Clovis-Clovis East 

Madison Flick, Nipomo

Jared Flores Retijin, Shafter

Jade Forero, Pine Valley-Mt. Empire 

Shelby Fosdick, Sonora

Megan Fragasso, San Luis Obispo

Travis Franceschi, Tomales

Caleb Freeman, Bakersfield-Foothill 

Tyler Furtado, Oakdale

Abel Garcia, Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley 

Aleah Garcia, Santa Maria

Brandi Garcia, Kingsburg

Fernando Garcia, Greenfield

Leslie Garcia, Dinuba

Megan Garcia, Merced-Golden Valley 

Richard Garcia, Modesto

Jose Garcia Jr., Laton

Jocelyn Garcia Pena, King City

Elisa Garnsey, San Luis Obispo

Jasmine Garza, Bakersfield-Independence 

Junior Gaytan Mesinas, Exeter

Makenna Gehrett, Sebastopol-Analy 

Colton Geiger, Willows

Amazing Geissler, Atwater-Buhach Colony 

Giulia Ghimenti, Fowler

Kimberly Gibbons, Bakersfield-Independence

Rachael Gilmore, Pine Valley-Mt. Empire 

James Glaser, Sebastopol-Analy 

Sarah Glenn, Camarillo

Lauren Glomson, Grass Valley-Bear River 

Kyle Gomes, Chowchilla

Beverly Goncalves, Chowchilla

Joleigh Gonella, Merced-Golden Valley 

Reese Gonsalves, Modesto

Amy Gonzalez, Tulelake

Emily Gonzalez, Bakersfield-Highland 

Victoria Gonzalez, Clarksburg-Delta 

Regan Goodwin, Bakersfield-Independence 

Chantz Granlees, Lodi

Brock Griffin, Loyalton

Kirsten Grissom, Chowchilla

Emely Guerra, Forestville-El Molino 

Maximus Guerra, Santa Maria-Righetti 

Karly Guerrero, Kingsburg

Edith Guijon, Woodlake

Alejandro Gutierrez, Petaluma

Arianna Gutierrez, Ceres-Central Valley

Cristian Gutierrez, Sacramento-Florin 

Roman Gutierrez, Santa Maria

Clayton Guy, Pine Valley-Mt. Empire 

Olivia Guyer, Turlock

Carlos Guzman, Nipomo

Eduardo Guzman, Le Grand

Heidi Guzman, Firebaugh

Victor Guzman, Middletown

Emme Haas, Morro Bay

Joshua Hack, Turlock

Wilhelm Hack, Turlock

Carissa Hall, Reedley-Immanuel 

Bradley Handel, Lodi-Tokay 

Olivia Hanna, Etna

Caden Hanson, Lodi

Ryan Haringa, Turlock

Mariah Harper, Hemet

Hannah Harrigan, Arroyo Grande

Emma Harris, Sebastopol-Analy 

Aubrie Hartwig, Sanger

Ashton Headley, King City

Kyras Headley, King City

Cameron Heinitz, Lodi-Tokay 

Austin Helms, Bakersfield-Highland 

Bethany Helton, Bakersfield-North 

Robert Henkens, Elk Grove-Pleasant Grove 

Corbin Hennesay, Clovis-Clovis East 

Grace Herman, Hanford

Efrain Hernandez, Firebaugh

Nicolas Herrera, Reedley

Abigail Hester, Holtville

Josh Heupel, Merced-Golden Valley 

Conner Hiatt, Madera-Liberty 

Dean Hill, Templeton

Mackenzie Hindman, Sutter Creek-Amador 

Anthony Hipolito Iniguez, Shafter

Madeline Holmes, Fortuna

Jordan Hooker, Merced-Stone Ridge Christian

Katherine Horal, Merced-Golden Valley 

Brianna Hughes, Bakersfield-Highland 

Danielle Hutchison, Madera-Liberty

Caeley Jackson, Sutter

Dillon Jackson, Kingsburg

Reid Jacobs, Lemoore

Aaron Jaramillo, Reedley

Kevin Jess, San Luis Obispo

Rocio Jimenez Hernandez, Santa Rosa

Colby Jobinger, O’Neals-Minarets 

Kayla Johnson, Bakersfield-Frontier 

Kandyce Johnston, El Centro-Southwest 

Allyson Jones, Lakeside-El Capitan

Mickala Jones, Oakdale

Jocelyne Juarez, Wasco

Mason Justice, Etna

Sheaden Kadle, Fortuna

Kayden Keillor, Shafter

Maddison Kerns, Auburn-Placer 

Sheridan Knight, Bakersfield-Frontier 

Sophia Kolb, Arroyo Grande

Chloe Koll, Sutter Creek-Amador 

Madison Kroeker, Merced-Golden Valley 

Ryann Kulbeth, Tranquillity

Macie Kulikov, Clovis-Clovis East

Alyssa Lang, Exeter

Allison Layne, Modesto

Audrey Legaspi, Salinas-Everett Alvarez 

Walter Lemons, Oakdale

Carolina Lemus, Santa Maria-Righetti 

Jacob Lepori, Sebastopol-Analy 

Ashley Lewis, Templeton

Shay Liebig, Middletown

Annika Lightfoot, Turlock

Sarah Lima, Hollister-San Benito 

Kaitlynn Linderholm, O’Neals-Minarets 

Justyne Lindley, Wheatland

Bailey Lopez, Le Grand

Cristian Lopez, Porterville

Eduardo Lopez, Visalia-Mt. Whitney 

Isaac Lopez, Shandon

Joshua Lopez, Santa Maria-Righetti 

Nick Lopez, Wasco

Rosario Lopez, Shafter

Chloe Luna, Turlock

Alexis Lupton, Galt-Liberty Ranch 

Brentan Luster, Ferndale

Tamara Macias, King City

Hannah Madole, Napa-Vintage 

Ryan Majarian, Visalia-Mt. Whitney 

Bailey Malone, Atwater-Buhach Colony 

Morgan Malone, Atwater-Buhach Colony 

Austin Maners, Sebastopol-Analy 

William Marchy, Turlock

Bella Marden, San Luis Obispo

Kasin Martin, Escondido

Kimberly Martin, Woodland

Edwin Martinez, Firebaugh

Hector Martinez, Woodland

Nicolas Martinez, King City

Julia Martinez Garcia, Santa Maria

Jaylene Martinez-Lopez, King City

Kelly Mathena, Eureka

Katie Matsumoto, Elk Grove-Pleasant Grove 

Macauley McDaniel, Bakersfield-Foothill 

Sarah McGary, Brentwood-Liberty 

Elise McKinsey, Valley Center

Gauge McMullen, Atwater-Buhach Colony 

Laila Medina, King City

Kyndle Mehlhaff, Jackson-Argonaut 

Victor Mejia, Atwater

Dylan Mello, Galt

Jacob Mendes, Lemoore

Dakota Mendonca, Tulare

Joseph Mendonca, Merced-Golden Valley 

Lindsy Mendoza-Ortiz, Nipomo

Mary Merritt, Clovis-Clovis East 

Riley Merten, Holtville

Alondra Meza, Bishop

Tab Miller, Nipomo

Blaine Mills, Santa Rosa-Elsie Allen 

Cheyanne Mills, Middletown

Madison Mills, El Centro-Southwest 

Stephanie Mills, Red Bluff

Kayla Minetti, Santa Maria-Righetti 

Morgan Mirau, Nipomo

Trew Mitchell, Paso Robles

Gabrielle Mix, Le Grand

Oracio Montes, Reedley

Jenna Moore, Nipomo

Adam Morales, Nipomo

Andrew Morales, Wasco

Eduardo Morales, Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley 

Julian Morato, Madera

Blake Morgan, Oakdale

Daniel Murray, Bakersfield-North

Cole Nally, Arroyo Grande

Beatriz Nava, King City

Teagan Neff, Arroyo Grande

Jerrod Nickerson, Atwater

Halee Nickols, Ferndale

Tayler Niesen, Sutter

Alexis Nighman, La Habra-Sonora 

Moises Novoa Diaz, Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley 

Alfred Nunes, Turlock

Allison Nunes, Turlock

Trey Nunes, Turlock

Riley O’Connor, San Luis Obispo

Jack Odell, Napa-Vintage 

Angel Orozco, Santa Maria

Maico Ortiz-Hinojosa, Galt

Layton Lee Oswald, Oakdale

Justin Paboojian, Reedley-Immanuel 

Jensen Pacheco, Le Grand

Sierra Pafford, Madera-Liberty 

Ivalinn Palmer, Clovis-Clovis East 

Jodie Parolini, Turlock

Gabriel Parra, McFarland

Christoph Paul, Grass Valley-Bear River 

Autumn Pecarovich, O’Neals-Minarets 

Tori Pedersen, Escondido

Ervin Pena, King City

Belen Perez, Santa Maria

Miguel Perez Esparza, Santa Maria-Pioneer Vly 

Colby Perry, Tollhouse-Sierra 

Brysan Pesenti, Paso Robles

Jesslyn Petersen, Merced-Golden Valley 

Mary Pat Peterson, Chico-CORE Butte Charter 

Haley Piek, Reedley-Immanuel 

Clay Pierce, Blythe-Palo Verde 

Ashlee Pike, Tracy-Delta Charter 

Joseph Pinheiro, Tulare

Sebastian Pinon, Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley 

Jasmine Plascencia, Camarillo

Sophie Plass, Tulelake

Cierra Polhemus, Oakdale

Olivia Poncia, Petaluma

Hannah Pope, Santa Maria-Righetti 

Madison Potts, Forestville-El Molino 

Kate Price, Santa Rosa

Arie Prins, Tulare

Anthony Prudente, Madera

Natasha Pyke, Morgan Hill-Live Oak 

Eric Quezada Ridge, Nipomo

Teddy Ragsdale, Merced-Golden Valley 

Alexandria Ramirez, Hollister-San Benito 

Garrett Ramirez, Clovis-Clovis East 

Osvaldo Ramirez Avila, Nipomo

Jonathan Rangel Diaz, Reedley 

Kyerstan Raymond, Grass Valley-Nevada Union 

Ethan Reece, Galt

Jordan Reich, Ripon

Madison Reimer, Bakersfield-Independence 

Hailee Revalee, Morro Bay

Saul Reyes, Hanford

Michael Rezendes, O’Neals-Minarets 

Cole Richard, Paso Robles

Joseph Richard, Loyalton

Willem Ridder, Healdsburg

Trevor Riley, Porterville

Maria Rios, Santa Maria

Stefhany Rios, St Helena 

Riley Ritchie, Arroyo Grande

Eroz Rivas, Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley 

Megan Robbins, Exeter

Sonora Robertson, Santa Maria-Righetti 

Landon Rocha, Hilmar

Andrea Rodriguez, King City

Angelica Rodriguez, Santa Maria-Righetti 

Francisco Rodriguez, Caruthers

Jessica Rodriguez, Watsonville

Jonathan Rodriguez, Templeton

Andrea Rojas-Navarro, Ceres-Central Valley

Siena Rollin, Riverdale

Ariadna Romero, Santa Maria

Ashley Romero, King City

Mary Rosa, Visalia-El Diamante 

Leobardo Rosas, Gonzales

Sujhey Rosas, Pine Valley-Mt. Empire 

Felix Ross, Dorris-Butte Valley 

Emily Ruiz, Camarillo

Kate Ruiz, Santa Paula

Juan Ruiz-Amador, Gonzales

Cody Russell, Oakdale

Mirella Saasta, El Centro-Southwest 

Luis Sainz, Gonzales

Savannah Salters, Bakersfield-Frontier 

Emily Sampson, Lincoln

Benjamin Sanchez, Bakersfield-Foothill 

Joseph Sandoval, Reedley

Ian Santoro, Madera-Liberty 

Jonathan Santos, Santa Maria

Christopher Santos Aguilar, King City

Efren Santos-Garcia, Santa Maria

Delaney Sarantopulos, Elk Grove

Emily Sarantopulos, Elk Grove

Kendall Savage, Paso Robles

Shelbi Scantlin, Templeton

Regina Schneider, Jackson-Argonaut 

Jayanna Scott, Sonora

Shantel Shaw, Sebastopol-Analy 

Jesse Shelbourne, Bakersfield

Kassidy Sheldon, Hanford

Michaela Shong, Morro Bay

Alyce Silva, Turlock

Aspen Silva, Modesto

Jacob Silva, Turlock

Jordyn Silva, Turlock

Tatyn Silva, Oakdale

Colton Silveira, Hilmar

Shantille Simonson, Nipomo

Madilyn Slate, Merced-Golden Valley 

Kathleen Smircich, Napa-Vintage 

Kylie Smith, Ripon

Tayler Smith, Bakersfield-Independence 

Jerry Snow, Pine Valley-Mt. Empire 

Taylor Sollecito, Salinas

Ashleigh Sorensen, Reedley-Immanuel 

Erika Sos, Chico

Amy Springer, Nicolaus-East Nicolaus 

Lester Squier, Willows

Reiley Stenberg, O’Neals-Minarets 

Ben Stevens, Bakersfield-Highland 

Taylor Stewart, Bakersfield-Frontier 

Casey Strupp, Paso Robles

Amy Suarez, Dos Palos

Luke Sullivan, Lone Pine

Jeslyn Svejda, Orland

Amy Swall, Tulare

Jake Swift, Mariposa

Kassidy Talbot, Woodland-Woodland Christian 

Karlie Tate, Bakersfield-North 

Dustin Tavares, Oakdale

Kimber Tavares, Oakdale

Riley Taylor, Weaverville-Trinity 

William Taylor, King City

Esteban Tellez-Hernandez, Merced-Golden Vly 

Austin Terra, Escalon

Brianna Thompson, Nipomo

Jared Thompson, Lemoore

Emma Thorpe, Lakeside-El Capitan

Alyssa Thunen, Sutter

Matthew Thunen, Sutter

Malei Tipton, El Centro-Southwest 

Jakob Titus, Sutter

Jonathan Toledo, King City

John Toste, Gustine

Trevor Trimble, O’Neals-Minarets 

Ivan Trujillo, Greenfield

Nathaniel Tsesmilles-Castro, Paso Robles

Rebecca Tsosie, Lone Pine

Hayley Tuttle, Bakersfield-Frontier 

John Uptergrove, Phelan-Serrano 

Rachel Utter, Valley Center

Cassandra Valdez, Merced

Olivia Valdez, Clovis-Clovis East 

Isabel Valle, Santa Paula

Malcolm Van Bebber, Merced-Golden Valley 

Abigail van Klaveren, Modesto

Kylie Van Vleck, Eureka

John Van Vliet, Ripon-Ripon Christian 

Clarissa Vander Poel, Shafter

Ariel Vander Woude, Ripon-Ripon Christian 

Cassie Varley, Bakersfield-North 

Nicholas Vasquez, Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley 

Mixtly Vega, Ceres-Central Valley

Citlalli Veloz, Santa Paula

Joebani Ventura, Laton

Sophia Vercellotti, Dorris-Butte Valley 

Grace Verdegaal, Oakdale

Irvin Vergara, King City

Davis Vieira, Turlock

Paige Vieira, Turlock-Turlock Christian 

Angel Villagomez, Greenfield

Luis Villanueva-Almaraz, King City

Christian Villanueva-Esquivel, Merced-Golden Vly 

Cheyenne Vitale, Modesto-Gregori

David Vitoria, Galt

Allison Wahlig, Nipomo

Lauren Walker, Palo Cedro-Foothill 

JoEllen Wall, Templeton

Amanda Waller, Middletown

Wyatt Ward, Kingsburg

Hailie Warnock, O’Neals-Minarets 

Dimitri Wasem, Oakhurst-Yosemite

Kassidy Watkins, Sebastopol-Analy 

Ashley Waymire, Visalia-Redwood 

Matt Weatherwax, Visalia-Golden West 

Jessica Welcher, Templeton

Emily White, Reedley

Zachery Whitely, Boonville-Anderson Valley 

Hannah Wilcocks, Bakersfield-Frontier 

Morgan Wilke, Bakersfield

Madison Winans, Arbuckle-Pierce

Robert Yebra, Gonzales

Calvin Young, Sebastopol-Analy 

Taylor Young, San Luis Obispo

Justin Zack, Atascadero

Kayla Zalesny, Nipomo

Paola Zarate-Camacho, Santa Maria-Pioneer Vly 

Angelina Zavala, Turlock

Abigail Ziesak, Eureka

Alyssa Zolman, La Habra-Sonora

American Stars

Star Farmer Josh Heupel, Merced-Golden Valley – National Finalist

Star in Agriscience Mackenzie Camacho, O’Neals-Minarets – National Finalist

Career/Leadership Development Events

Ag Communications Grass Valley-Bear River – 9th Place

Macey Fowler – 4th Place Bailey Ham – Silver

Connor McGehee – Silver Alyssa Downes – Bronze 

Ag Issues Tulare – National Champions

Emma Coelho Avery Coelho

Madeline Lew Aiden Champagne

Duncan Champagne

Ag Sales Merced-Golden Valley – 5th Place

Amethyst Lumley – 9th Place Cameron Ivy – Gold

Ashley Sandlin – Gold Kindall Grisham – Silver

Ag Mechanics Visalia-Golden West – Silver

Wyatt Benson – Gold Alejandro DeAvila – Silver

Ernest Murphy – Silver Samuel Pratt – Silver 

Agronomy Tulelake – 4th Place

Tristan Walker – 6th Place Johaned Aguilar – Gold

Analessa Greenwood – Gold Yuleidy Gonzalez – Silver

Conduct of Meetings Mariposa – Bronze

Creed Recitation Cottonwood-West Valley – 3rd Place – Elissa Diaz

Dairy Cattle Chowchilla – 7th Place

Rachel Mancebo – 5th Zoe Bitter – Gold 

Logan Silveira – Gold Sydney Alexander – Silver 

Employability Skills Madera – Silver – Lesly Madriz

Environmental Sciences Foresthill – 3rd Place

Clay Cantrell – 2nd Kelly Cantrell – Gold

David Reinhart – Gold Sloan Farinha – Silver 

Extemporaneous Atwater-Buhach Colony – 2nd Place – Isabelle Dillsaver

Farm Business Atwater – Silver

Daniel Lopez – Gold Elizabeth Ayala – Silver

Tristan Carday – Silver Celeste Shargoy – Silver 

Floriculture Gridley – Silver

Madeline Hamman – Gold Kennison Cota – Silver

Becca Hamman – Silver Hayley Triplett – Silver 

Food Science Elk Grove-Pleasant Grove – Bronze

Anna Bibby – Silver Lindsey Dillon – Bronze

Mackenzi Potter – Bronze Maddie Tellesen – Bronze 

Forestry Susanville-Lassen – 10th Place

Aden Adams – Gold Ethan German – Gold

Morgan Merrill – Silver Ethan Shaw – Silver 

Horse Evaluation Clovis – 2nd Place

Ashlin Torbet – 2nd Taylor Brown – Gold 

Sydney Loucks – Gold Heather Prater – Gold 

Livestock Evaluation Oakdale – National Champions

Morgan Gravatt – 4th Nicole Carter – 8th

Jaiden Grivette – Gold Devon Pastor-Guzman – Gold

Marketing Plan Merced-El Capitan – National Champions

Autumn Miller Nikolas Williams

Makayla Ward

Meats Evaluation Woodlake – 7th Place

Jessica Henderson – Gold Reagan Henderson – Gold

Paige Perez – Gold Izaiah Benavides – Silver 

Milk Quality Atwater – 5th Place

Simarjot Gandhake – Gold Elisabeth Garner – Gold 

Nandini Patel – Gold Emma Garcia – Silver 

Nursery Operations Dinuba – 7th Place

Yvonne Cortez – Gold Jesus Gutierrez – Gold

Victor Martinez – Gold Zachari Nelson – Silver 

Parliamentary Procedure Galt-Liberty Ranch – National Champions

Braden Crosson Luke Powers

Teddy Lopez Trevor Schmiedt

Itzel Zavala Trevor Denier

Poultry Judging Santa Maria-Righetti – Silver

Kiana Brown – Gold Anabel Guerrero – Silver

Enrique Hernandez – Silver Audrey Herrera – Silver 

Prepared Speaking Elk Grove – Silver – Samantha Albiani

Veterinary Science Madera – National Champions

Elena Robles – 1st Kassard Hernandez – 2nd 

Mercedes Gonzales – 3rd Marilyn Bautista – Gold 

Honorary American Degree Recipients

Brett Camacho, Madera, Star Finalist Parent

Tammy Camacho, Madera, Star Finalist Parent

Jessica Fernandes, Buena Park, FFA Advisor

Alex Flores, Santa Paula, FFA Advisor

Brent George, Madera, FFA Advisor

Sarah Herdell, St. Helena, FFA Advisor

Jackie Heupel, LeGrand, Star Finalist Parent

Scott Heupel, LeGrand, Star Finalist Parent

Karla Larios, Holtville, National Officer Parent

Lori Marchy, Ceres, Modesto Junior College

Deanna Morton, Shandon, FFA Advisor

National Band, Chorus and Talent

Callie Boles, Poway (Band)

Damon Gallegos, Fallbrook (Chorus)

Phillip Miller, Merced-El Capitan (Band)

National Chapter

Bakersfield-Highland – Three Star

Bakersfield-Foothill – Two Star

Clarksburg-Delta – Two Star

Coalinga – Two Star

Exeter – Three Star

Firebaugh – Three Star

Hanford – Three Star

Imperial – Two Star

Kerman – One Star

Livingston – Three Star

Lone Pine – Three Star

Madera – Three Star

Merced – Two Star

Norco – Two Star

Porterville-Monache – Three Star

Sacramento-Florin – One Star

Sacramento-Sheldon – Two Star

Salinas-North Salinas – Two Star

Woodland – Two Star

National Delegates

Iyali Aguirre, Kelseyville

Isabella Albiani, Elk Grove

Andrew Angulo, El Centro-Southwest

Mia Arisman, Galt

Daniela Bastidas, El Centro-Southwest

Elizabeth Beebe, Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley

Jenna Bracy, Hanford

Shane Brennan, Templeton

Davis Bryant, Mariposa

Falon Butcher, Bakersfield-Christian

Marc Cabeliza, Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley

Princesa Ceballos, Porterville-Monache

Julianna Contreras, Merced-El Capitan

Kamille Dean, Merced-Golden Valley

Reagan Denny, Yuba City

Megan Donaldson, Tomales

Jake Dowell, O’Neals-Minarets

Austin Flood, Cottonwood-West Valley

Colby Galassi, Watsonville

Abelino Garza II, Bakersfield-Independence

Reese Gonsalves, Modesto

Reena Grewal, Livingston

Paul Horta Castaneda, McArthur-Fall River

Abigale Jacobsen, Elk Grove

Kaylen Jaime, Elk Grove-Pleasant Grove

Brian Kavanagh, Temecula- St. Jeanne

Hannah Kunkle, Apple Valley

Jade Lassaga, Marysville

Emily Lizarraga, Bakersfield-Independence

Omar Lopez, Madera

Rachel Lyman, Sutter Creek-Amador

Lesly Madriz Alcaraz, Madera

Hadynn McCormick, Turlock

Morgan Oliveira, Hilmar

Melanie Orozco Gonzalez, Holtville

Annie Petersen, Healdsburg

Isabella Ribeiro, Tulare

Micaiah Richison, Oakdale

Sophie Rodriguez, Menifee-Heritage

Sierra Short, Salinas-Everett Alvarez

Thomas Simas, Esparto

Taylor Sollecito, Salinas 

Makena Stanisai, Temecula- St. Jeanne

Brayton Stenberg, O’Neals-Minarets

Mallory Sutherland, Bakersfield-Frontier

Emma Thorpe, Lakeside-El Capitan

Gillian Villa, Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley

Neveya Villa. Atwater

Emily Winningham, Ukiah

National Nominating Committee

Dean Hill, Templeton, Chair

National Officer Candidate

Maico Ortiz, Galt

Proficiency Awards

Ag Communications Brianna Hafey, Wildomar-Elsinore – National Finalist

Ag Education Lesly Madriz, Madera – Gold

Ag Mech Design/Fab Ervin Pena, King City – Gold

Ag Mech Repair Entrep Adrian Hurtado, Merced-El Capitan – Gold 

Ag Mech Repair Place Kevin Hofstee, Tulare – Silver

Ag Processing Francisco Rocha, El Centro-Southwest – National Finalist

Ag Sales Placement Emily Wise, Bakersfield Christian – National Winner

Ag Services Hanna Scully, Kelseyville – Participant

Ag Research Animal Danae Westra, Visalia-Central Valley Christian – National Finalist

Ag Research Integrated Isabella Albiani, Elk Grove – Gold

Ag Research Plant Nicholas Mello, Hanford – National Finalist

Beef Entrep Caleb Eberhardt, Nicolaus-East Nicolaus – National Finalist

Beef Placement Wesley Knippler-Cole, Bakersfield-Frontier – National Finalist

Dairy Entrep Hartley Silva, Modesto – National Winner

Dairy Placement Shianne Omlin, Modesto – National Finalist

Diversified Ag Prod Blake Kalfsbeek, Colusa, National Finalist

Diversified Crop Entrep Peter Bliss, Merced-Golden Valley – National Winner

Diversified Crop Place Tristan Miller, Arbuckle-Pierce – Gold

Diversified Horticulture Madison Causey, Fallbrook – Participant

Diversified Livestock Lucille Burris, Ukiah – Gold 

Equine Science Entrep Delilah Westhaver, Wildomar-Elsinore – National Finalist

Equine Science Place Layton Oswald, Oakdale – National Winner

Forage Production Spencer Wolf, Merced-El Capitan – National Finalist

Forest Management Caleb Gretlein, Nipomo – National Finalist

Fruit Production Pamela Donoso-Merino, Watsonville – National Finalist

Goat Production Kamille Dean, Merced-Golden Valley – GOLD 

Grain Production Matthew Meents, Corning – Bronze 

Landscape Management Jonathan Rodriguez, Templeton – Gold 

Nursery Operations David Estrada, Watsonville – Gold 

Outdoor Recreation Gavin Renz, Hollister-San Benito – National Finalist

Poultry Production Ayden Gartenlaub, Bakersfield-Highland – National Finalist

Service Learning Marc Cabeliza, Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley – National Finalist

Sheep Production Kaycee Brassfield, San Andreas-Calaveras – National Finalist

Small Animal Tristan Cardey, Atwater – Gold

Specialty Animal Emersyn Klick, Healdsburg – Gold

Specialty Crop Savanah Downs, Bakersfield Christian – National Winner

Swine Entrep Sierra Collier, Fresno-Central – National Finalist

Swine Placement Christina De La Pena, Calipatria – National Finalist

Turf Grass Omar Lopez, Madera – Bronze

Vegetable Production Adela Garcia, Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley – National Finalist

Veterinary Science Claire Conard, Healdsburg – Silver

Wildlife Production Mason Haworth, Visalia-Central Valley Christian – National Winner

VIP Award

Robert Flores, Retired, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Michael Spiess, Retired, Chico State, Chico

Lessons from the RAT Pack

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

I recently crashed a, self named, RAT (Retired Ag Teachers) Pack breakfast. In October, the group met for breakfast in an out-of-the-way diner in central California.  Mid-morning at a large table in the back of the restaurant sat nine stalwarts of our profession, all legendary figures of CATA. The group meets every month or so to reconnect. As far as anyone knows, there is no official membership list and no formal invitations. They are simply a group of retirees with a shared passion for ag education summoned by word of mouth. They carpool Highway 99 and Interstate 5 in the dark to some predetermined diner, picking up members at each town along the way.

If anyone was to calculate the number of silver bowls represented by the group, the number would be in the triple digits. The State Degree count accumulated by the table would be in the thousands. The miles traveled to fairs, field days, and project visits would reach a million. But their conversations were not of past glory or the good old days.

Intertwined amid complaining about politics (the 2021 recall came up frequently), discussing California’s current state of affairs (outlawing gas-powered lawnmowers was a hot topic), and the lack of rain emerged three main themes.

The first theme was that each member of the group was still connected to their former ag program in some way. Some were still teaching a class or two, others were subbing, and many continued volunteering at FFA and community events. They stayed connected by judging career development and leadership development events, barbecuing for fundraisers, serving on boards, and “consulting” the next generation of ag teachers.   

The next theme revolved around family and friends and the importance of community. Stories were told about holiday gatherings and local events, and they all showed pictures of children and grandchildren.

The final commonality was that all the members of the group had hobbies. Activities like woodworking, hunting, pottery, biking, running, fishing, fantasy football, and camping were common. They shared anecdotes of completed projects, competitions, and shared passions. Some RAT Packers commented about the importance of developing interests outside of the profession.

Prior to the event, I expected to hear a how-to on ag teaching, but instead learned a more powerful lesson. As a result, I left breakfast pondering the following questions: 

As ag teachers, what are we doing right now to build connections to our programs and community that will outlive our careers?

What are we doing to cultivate lifelong hobbies that bring us joy and keep us mentally and physically active?

What are we doing to strengthen our relationships with family and friends to help us stay connected after leaving the classroom?

State Championships, American Degrees, and champion banners are important and reflect the hard work and dedication of the students and teachers that achieve them, but reminders of those accomplishments sit on a shelf or hang on a wall and collect dust years later. However, the community connections made, the relationships built and maintained, and the interests outside of work will be around long after the job.

A special thanks to Dave Segna, Warren Weaver, Joe DiGrazia, Carl Wright, Darol Fishman, Larry Tosta, Mark Feuerbach, Dale Pollard, and Richard Regalo for allowing me to sit and talk. It is not something I will soon forget. Please know you are forever and always a part of the CATA family and welcome at any event. 

Seeing Yourself in CATA and FFA

By: Brian Kim, CATA Southern Region President

Like many other high school agriculture teachers in the state, I knew I wanted to be an agriculture teacher through my participation and involvement within my own chapter. I would have considered myself the gung-ho FFA kid who wanted to participate in every leadership conference, run for office, and show livestock. The FFA, as it does for so many young students, provided me with a home, a place to thrive, and somewhere that I had a sense of belonging. There was a huge part of my FFA experience missing though: my parents. Growing up I saw my parents actively involved in my older sisters’ choir concerts and my older brothers’ baseball and marching band competitions, but when it came down to the ag world, there was a disconnect. Still, even to this day, my parents don’t fully understand the world of agricultural education and I attribute the disconnect to their race, upbringing, and culture. 

During my sophomore year, while running for regional office, I had made the first conscious note in my head that not many other FFA members looked like me. I didn’t see many other Asian FFA members in blue jackets. Even as a professional, I can probably count the number of Asian agriculture teachers on my hands within our state. As we find ourselves, as an organization, pushing towards inclusivity, going as far as stating that our FFA programs should reflect our school population, and how beneficial it would be that students see themselves in their educators, I can’t help but think that our teachers will need to be supported in having more dynamic discussions and awareness to engage all student populations. 

Participation in extracurricular activities is associated with higher educational aspirations and expectations, higher levels of academic achievement, higher levels of self-esteem and a lower likelihood of dropping out of high school. Extracurricular activities enable students not only to explore interests and make new friends, but also to develop a large range of physical, interpersonal, leadership, and intellectual skills.  

These activities appeared to have been a response from educational systems in industrialized nations to a rapid increase in secondary enrollments. Administrative leaders began writing articles that reflected the value of extracurricular activities. It was not until well into the 20th century those extracurricular activities began to be considered as important by educational leaders. In general, low socioeconomic and minority students receive less attention from teachers, are placed in lower academic tracks, and learn less during the school year. Supporting evidence claims that access to the extra curriculum is inequitably distributed among students from various social, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. It is important to research the inequalities in extracurricular activities given the potential benefits that students may receive from participation. 

Research shares prevalent stereotypes that link ethnic group membership to academic ability and other skills. These stereotypes form a reference point for the construction of success among the youth. This supports the idea that adolescents define their goals depending on the stereotypes attached to their ethnic group. Research also shared that income is a significant predictor of whether a child participates in an extracurricular activity. Paying to play extracurricular activities places a financial burden on the students and their families. Low participation is high among economically disadvantaged children. Families with higher income are more likely to provide opportunities for their children to participate in extracurricular activities than families with lower income. Relating this very topic to the livestock world, we see similarities within those families who have the ability to provide their children with “higher-end” livestock animals, those families who get the very “basic” livestock animal, and even those students who, after learning there is a price tag involved, ultimately do not even show up to the interest meetings. 

Raising livestock, attending leadership conferences, and any activities have much in common as there is an after-school commitment as well as a financial responsibility to the project. There is a racial discrepancy as the majority of students that raise livestock at Sunny Hills High School are Caucasian and Latino. In addressing the Asian population and why more Asian students don’t participate in agricultural education, there is a cultural gap. We have a strong population of Asian students enrolling in agriculture courses because we can “sell” to both the student and parent that our classes fall under Biology and Chemistry; when it comes to having the opportunity to raise livestock or participate in agriculture-related activities there is a distinctive gap. In a high school with a strong academic achievement level and a large Asian population, some educational stereotypes are very much real. Parents of Asian students are pushing them to have the best odds on college applications, therefore any course that veers away from an AP, IB, and/or Honors is not relevant. Students asking their parents to raise livestock are often turned down as the event is not academically relevant nor does it actively thrust their students into a higher achievement category. This discrepancy even begins with students asking their parents if they can register for an agriculture class. The word “agriculture” is foreign and unfamiliar to them, which places the course in a “less-than” category. Pushing for the Asian community to accept CTE courses, place value, and rigor will require consistent exposure, education, and awareness in which we need to be prepared to do in order to break educational misunderstandings. Though the challenges that the Asian community and agricultural education face may differ from those of different races and cultures, one thing remains true: we need to continue diving into these conversations and creating meaningful change.  

Although the focus for our school is the Asian population, California agriculture programs are diverse and require a dive into other areas of race. As teachers begin to actively try and involve all students, special attention should be placed on racial inequities and how they affect student participation.

2021-2022 Golden Owl Nominations Are Open!


Nationwide® is proud of its agricultural heritage and long-standing support of the greater agricultural community, including the National FFA Organization and FFA chapters across the country. The Golden Owl Award® allows us to also extend our support to agricultural educators who devote countless hours, and often their own resources, to positively impact the lives of their students.


The Golden Owl award program recognizes chapter FFA Advisors who demonstrate commitment to the local program. The award is designed to recognize teachers who go above and beyond to provide opportunities for their students and their chapter to grow and improve.

With the Golden Owl Award, students, fellow teachers, and other supporters can nominate their favorite agricultural teacher and summarize what makes him or her the best in their state. Nominees can win the distinction of being their state’s Agricultural Educator of the Year and the following prizes:

  • $500 and an engraved plaque to each honoree
  • $3,000 and the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy to each state’s grand prize winner (Agricultural Educator of the Year)

In conjunction with the Golden Owl Award, Nationwide is donating $5,000 to each participating state’s FFA to further support the personal and professional growth of students, teachers, and advisors alike.


Applicants must be a current Agriculture Teacher in the state of California.


  1. Nominee must agree to attend the State Award Interview Process if selected as the Regional Finalist from their region.
  2. Nominee must agree to be in attendance at the Regional and State Award Ceremonies if nominated as a finalist in those areas.

Due Date:

*Submitted by Dec. 31 by 11:59pm

Click here to submit an application.

Updated Cal Ag Ed Calendar

By: Charles Parker, California Department of Education, State FFA Advisor

Welcome to 2021! With the earlier State FFA Leadership Conference, there was a need to adjust many “normal” due dates. We realize that in the coming months students will be seeking opportunities to apply for various awards, submit scholarship applications, and seek experiences to continue to grow as a leader. To assist you in planning we are providing a summary of upcoming due dates. These applications and forms will be available on Should you not find what you are looking for do not hesitate to reach out.

Looking forward to seeing students and teachers at upcoming events and observing those deserving students as they receive the recognition they deserve.

DateApplication, For or Event
October 15FFA Membership Rosters Due
October 15Ag Incentive Grant Report of Expenditures Due
October 15AET Profiles Updated (Students and Teachers)
November 1MFE/ALA Registration Opens
December 1SLE Applications Due
December 1State FFA Scholarship Applications Due
December 1State FFA Leadership Conference Registration Opens
December 15Golden Owl-Star Advisor Nominations Due
DateApplication, For or Event
JanuaryStar in Ag Placement, Ag Business, Ag Science & Farmer Applications Due
JanuaryProficiency Award Applications Due
January 1National Scholarship Applications Due
January 15State Leadership Conference Early Bird Registration Closes
January 14State Nominating Committee Applications Due
January 14State Officer Applications due
January 14State Conference Committee & Sub-Committee Chair Applications Due
January 24State Degree Applications Due in AET
DateApplication, For or Event
February 1Star Administrator, Counselor & Supporting Staff Applications Due
February 1Star Reporter Applications Due
February 1State Talent Applications Due
February 1National Chapter Applications Due in AET
February 1Hall of Chapter Applications Due
February 1Press Corps Applications Due
February 1Web Page Applications Due
DateApplication, For or Event
February 1Courtesy Corp Applications Due
February 1State Distinguished Service Citation Nominations Due
February 1Honorary State Degree Nominations Due
February 1Ambassador Applications Due
February 15State Conference Registration Due
February 15State Conference Hardcopy Forms & Payment Due
February 25Agriscience Fair Research Papers/Applications Due
March 4State Proficiency Finalists Announced
March 10State Prepared Public Speaking Manuscripts Due
March 10State Job Interview Materials Due
April 1State Officer Banquet Requests Due
MayAmerican Degree Applications Due in AET
June 1National Convention Delegate Applications Due
June 10National Chapter Revisions Due
June 10National Proficiency Award Revisions Due
June 10National Agriscience Fair Certifications and Applications Due
June 15National Band, Chorus and Talent Applications Due
June 15National CDE/LDE Declarations Due
June 30Ag Incentive Grant Funding Applications Due

California Ag Teachers Recognized at the National Level

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

Jessica Fernandes Honored by National Association of Agricultural Educators

The National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) National Teach Ag Campaign honored Buena Park High School agricultural educator Jessica Fernandes during the 2021 National Teach Ag Day. 

Every year the NAAE National Teach Ag Campaign selects individuals and/or organizations who have contributed significantly to the Teach Ag mission of ensuring a quality and diverse supply of agricultural teachers. Jessica is more than deserving of this honor due to her steadfast commitment to agricultural teacher recruitment and retention in California, Region I, and across the nation.

Jessica was selected as a 2021 NAAE National Teach Ag Champions as a result of her passion and dedication for transforming agricultural education into a more inclusive and diverse profession, increasing educators involvement in NAAE, and emphasizing the important work agricultural educators do every day to make their classrooms, schools, and communities more inclusive and equitable places for all students.

Congratulations, Jessica, well deserved!

California Ag Teachers selected as National Teacher Ambassadors for FFA

Amanda Ferguson, Cara Parlato-Butler, and Jason Ferreira from California were selected as National Teacher Ambassadors for FFA for the 2021-2022 school year. 

The National Teacher Ambassadors for FFA program provides ambassadors with professional development experience, more specifically addressing combating factors that lead to teacher burnout, such as tedium, volume, environment, work-life balance, and low levels of professional development at the midpoint of the career. In addition, the program educates ambassadors and their peers on time-saving educator resources.  In its fifth year, the program allows ambassadors to connect with their peers through workshops, giving them the tools to manage the challenges of being an agriculture teacher. The program is also a direct connection between National FFA staff and agricultural educators.

Great Job, Amanda, Cara, and Jason! Enjoy the journey.

Proficiency Awards

By: Shay Williams-Hopper, Agriculture Education Consultant, San Joaquin Region

This year, California has 29 members representing us as finalists in the National Proficiency Awards Program in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Hours of hard work in SAE development, application revisions, and interview preparation can truly be seen by not only these individuals but all of the students who completed proficiency award applications last year!

As we prepare for this year’s application process, I wanted to give a few tips to help your students be successful with their applications.

1. Choosing the appropriate category: One of the hardest parts of the whole application is determining if your student is in the correct category.  National FFA updates categories every year and those descriptions can be found here:  One thing to keep in mind as you are determining the correct placement is that with 48 categories, some of the hours and finances accrued in an SAE project will not fit perfectly into one category.  For example, a student who owns dairy cattle and milks those cows and produces butter to sell at a farmers market, cannot include the sale of butter or the time invested in producing that butter on a Dairy Entrepreneurship Application.  Those dollars and hours would need to be pulled out into a separate SAE for Ag Processing.  Also, all skills must be applicable to the Agriculture Industry Sector.  Information that can be deemed part of another industry is subject to disqualification.  Please check in with your regional supervisor if you have questions or feel free to contact me to assist with proper placement.

2. Compare the application to the rubric:  The rubric is followed at both the State and National levels.  While some areas are worth fewer points than others, you should be striving to earn as many points as possible in ALL areas.  You are likely giving up “free” points if you are not reviewing the rubric. Better yet, find a friend in the English department and have them read the application and score it on the rubric. They will give you honest feedback for grammar, spelling, point deductions, and questions they have after reading the application!

3. Have your student tell their SAE Story:  We say this repeatedly, but agriculture in California is extremely different from anywhere else in our country.  Your student will need to explain as much of their project as they can. Things that seem common sense here are not so common in other places.  Try to vary the application and use as many different examples as possible. Repetition of the same skills makes for a less interesting read.  Connect to industry practices if possible. Also, make sure the student’s voice is heard in the application.  Interviewers can tell when the student has had assistance writing the application, and when they have not.

4. Keep accurate records:  As students are entering financial and journal entries, be sure that they are accurately documenting how those hours have been earned and categorizing finances correctly.  Students with an entrepreneurship/research project must have financial entries.  Entrepreneurship projects should also have some type of inventory entries.  If they do not, then that needs to be explained in Question A1.  For example, why does that student own a tractor if they are farming 50 acres of cotton?  Placement projects need to record hours and income earned on their financial entries pages.  Hours from the journal will not transfer over to the application on placement applications.

5. Be sure that SAE Plans are complete: This is a disqualification area at the State Level if they are not complete!

6. Do NOT include information from 2022 on the application: Applications are closed as of December 31, 2021.  Plans can be mentioned for the future, but you cannot say, “In January 2022, I … with my project.”  Leave 2022 for next year’s application! This is also the same for that student’s resume.  Awards earned in 2022, such as a Sectional Proficiency Award Winner, cannot be included.  The resume will be awarded zero points!

7. The “clipboard” is your student moneymaker:  This is the largest amount of points on the entire application.  Make it count.  The clipboard, which can be found on the student’s SAE Program Manager, allows for students to briefly describe their project.  Please coach your students to explain what the project was, what skills they learned, and make sure they are showing growth from year to year in their skill attainment.  Fill in all the space provided.

8. Pictures:  Use the pictures to highlight the awesome skill attainment these students have acquired.  Stay away from “posed” pictures with groups of people.  Make sure that the skill being showcased and the student can be seen in the photo.  Start collecting photos now!  Do not wait until January when the application is due.  Remember that as you are doing SAE visits and you are documenting those visits in AET, you can add a picture from that visit that then drops into the student’s AET files for easy access later!  Start collecting these pictures when they are freshmen. Try to stay away from “showing” livestock pictures.  Your descriptions need to describe what I can’t see in the picture.  I can see you giving an injection; tell me why we are administering the vaccination.  What does it prevent? What method are you using to administer it and why?

I hope that these hints will help your students to be successful as they are moving forward. I am always willing to help should you have a question and so are your regional supervisors. 

Are you Next?

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

Agricultural Education has consistently grown our own. For the most part, CATA leadership, California Department of Education (CDE) state staff, and university educators, at one time, all taught at the high school level. In addition, many community college instructors cut their teeth at the secondary level. Therefore, intrinsic knowledge of secondary agricultural education is advantageous to excel in such positions.

Traditionally, people who fill those positions have made a conscious decision and sacrificed to qualify for those jobs.

43% of current CDE state staff will be eligible for retirement in the next five years. The last five years have seen the retirement or Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) of five university professors and the expansion of almost the same number of positions.

CATA needs annual leaders to step up at the state, regional, and sectional levels.

The question is, who among us will be next to answer the call to help lead our profession into the next decade? 

The vast majority of positions mentioned above require prerequisite qualifications. Therefore, planning is needed to be eligible to apply for such a position.

CATA office at all levels requires that members have at least two years of paid membership and be in good standing. CATA state officer candidates must have served on the governing board as a Regional President, Division Chair, or Division Chair-Elect. 

Joining the California Department of Education is a time-consuming endeavor. Applicants must take an assessment and be vetted. Assessment tests are reviewed on the 20th of every month, and results are generally posted at the beginning of the following month. If an applicant’s assessment needs to be modified or adjusted, more time is required. To be considered for a state staff job, the process must be initiated a month before posting. If working at the state staff level is something that you are remotely interested in, get on the list and maintain eligibility just in case.

Foreseeably with the expansion of free community college for all, enrollment will also increase. As a result, the demand for qualified instructors will also increase. Typically, some iteration of a master’s degree is required to teach at the post-secondary level. Online programs, night classes, and summer programs are good ways to obtain a master’s degree and maintain current employment.

Most university tenure track positions require doctorate work for eligibility. Fortunately, there are now several options for distant learning to earn doctoral degrees. Numerous individuals in our ranks have recently received their doctorates, many of whom did so without relocating or changing their day jobs. Big kudos to those individuals for investing in themselves and making sacrifices that will benefit ag education for years to come. With retirements and expansions looming, more high school and community college agricultural teachers will need to obtain additional degrees to ensure teacher training at the university is based on actual classroom experience.

Anyone with any interest in any of the careers mentioned above should reach out to someone currently in one of those positions. People that have successfully navigated the process are a great resource to determine a path forward. Meeting the criteria for some of these jobs can take years. Prior planning is essential to be ready when the opportunity presents itself.

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit

Opening the Door

By: Charles Parker, California Department of Education, State FFA Advisor

It is exciting that we are, in some places, once again being allowed to join together. I know those conversations around the table, in the hallway, and outside the room are often the most valuable. I applaud the teachers for making the effort to provide opportunities to meet in-person as well as a venue for those that are not yet comfortable with in-person meetings. 

As an educator, our goal is to provide an opportunity for ALL students to learn and grow. I personally believe that through agricultural education and the FFA, we have the best delivery method for all students to experience success. It is through the many opportunities that you, agricultural teachers, provide to students that they feel welcome.

I remember, a few years ago, being confronted by teachers who were disappointed in a decision I had made. I know, this is not uncommon. But, nonetheless, earlier a teacher had called wanting to provide a meaningful experience for a particular student. This student, based on their religious beliefs, could not wear a logo. Thus, they could not wear what I coveted, the blue and gold jacket. As much as I wanted to require the student to wear the jacket, I knew deep down that was not what was best for the student or the program. In the end, I shared with the teachers that the activity was about engaging the student, allowing them to do their part in that particular activity, and in the end, to feel part of a team and welcomed. Wearing the jacket was important to me, but it was not as important as that individual student.

For those that know me, you know I bleed blue and gold, but, that evening, watching that student recite their part, I could not help but feel the right decision was made. It was most certainly an individual incident, but it began, in my mind, to set the value of being inclusive. 

Over the years, I have had to continue to make decisions similar to the one made regarding the logo. Allowing a student who was too big to fit into the largest FFA jacket made to stand on stage with the choir at the State FFA Leadership Conference and share her lovely voice, permitting a Hispanic student to recite the FFA Creed in Spanish, and letting a student wear a hat while competing on a judging team because of a medical concern are other incidents that I remember. Not because it was a popular decision, but because it was the right decision for the student. 

California has always been at the forefront of change. At the time, often the change was met with loud criticism. We know that change is not easy, but it is important. We must always look ahead at what we can be, not what we are.

As I reflect back, I am honored to be part of an agriculture tradition that has found ways to be inclusive, even when it was not popular. In 1952, Leo Clark, a black student from Foothill High School in Hayward, was elected to serve as the State President for the California Association. This was some twelve years prior to the merger of the NFA and the FFA. In fact, in 1962, Dan Chatman, another black student from Madera, was elected as the State Sentinel. Dan went on the next year to serve as the State President and even participated in the National Prepared Public Speaking event.

It is also commonly known, at least in the California journals, that girls were in agricultural education programs long before 1969. The story goes that prior to girls being admitted into FFA, advisors that believed the organization was for all students simply used the first initial of the first name along with the complete last name in filling out membership rosters. This technique allowed young ladies to participate, at least locally, long before a change was instituted at the national level. Although I was not teaching at that time, I can assure you that not all teachers nor fellow members were enthusiastic about girls being allowed to be members.

Then, in the late 1980s, a movement began to ensure that every student enrolled in an agriculture class was an FFA member. Wow – at sectional and regional meetings you would have thought that such an idea would be the downfall of the organization. Remarks such as “not all students want to be in FFA” or “why pay dues when they are not competitive” were quickly shared. 

In each of these instances, if the majority ruled, the change would not have occurred. But, through the leadership of CATA, our industry partners, and the Agricultural Education State Staff, the change did take place and our organization is better because of it.

I know we are in difficult times and each day we, you, and I, have to make tough decisions. I often get asked, when will it stop? Simple answer, never! We will always be confronted with a different idea, circumstance, or social issue. It is up to us, as educators of our youth, to find ways to include everyone in the conversation.

National FFA is embarking on a discussion on modifications to the various ceremonies so that they can be more inclusive. The delegates at the 2021 National FFA Convention will have a subcommittee that will develop recommendations for consideration by the National FFA Board. 

What other discussions should we be having? Are there other traditions that we have that tend to be exclusive rather than inclusive? Do we even understand what our students need?

Look at your classroom and the students that enter it every day. Each one is different and is looking for how to belong. Are we asking the right questions? Are we being observant of their traditions? 

A few sections and regions recently have begun to allow students to recite the FFA Creed and conduct the Opening and Closing Ceremony in Spanish. What else can we do to include all students?

I know, deep down, that we all believe that what we do in agricultural education and the FFA is for all students. That, if allowed, every individual that enters our doors will find a niche in our organization that will enable them to be successful and become a contributing member to our local community.

We can no longer simply state that our door is open. Through our actions, we must demonstrate that we care about the person, no matter who they are, where they come from, or what their personal views are, that they are welcome and encouraged to be part of our community.

This is not the first time a tough decision is made, nor will it be the last. Even an old dog like me continues to learn every day. As I stated in a previous article, you are my superheroes! You are there for everyone, no matter the circumstance. Continue to wear your cape with pride, being there for ALL who need you.

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit