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The Student News Site of Santa Maria High School

The Breeze

The Student News Site of Santa Maria High School

The Breeze

The Student News Site of Santa Maria High School

The Breeze

Two Santa Maria FFA Members Elected To State Office

Melissa+Lua+and+Carlos+Nunez+for+CA+State+Officers.+Photo+Provided+By+Ms.+Pineda
Melissa Lua and Carlos Nunez for CA State Officers. Photo Provided By Ms. Pineda

Two Santa Maria FFA students have been elected to serve as a 2024-2025 California FFA State Officer.

Senior, Melissa Lua Duarte, California State FFA Treasurer, and graduate Carlos Nunez Jacuinde, California State FFA Reporter, went through a five-day, nine-round interview process before being elected as a State FFA Officer.

During the seventh and final session of the California State FFA Leadership Conference held in Sacramento California, they were two out of the six students announced as officers representing the over 100,000 FFA members in the State of California for the 2024-2025 year.

According to California FFA, State Officers are “elected annually by delegates from each FFA chapter in California, the State FFA Officer team’s purpose is to inspire and lead their peers, shepherding the FFA component of the program. With the needs of their fellow members at heart, the team sets intentions and creates programming with the desire to move the association forward and serve the needs of their peers as well as the agriculture industry. Officers delay college for a year to serve their term, basing their operations out of the California FFA Center in Galt.”

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Melissa Lua-Duarte said, “This process was both challenging yet incredibly rewarding. It was amazing to be able to share my story and meet so many individuals throughout the process during the state conference. I look forward to these next 365 days of service to California FFA.’’

Carlos Nunez added, “The interview process was really intense and exhausting, but at the end of the day my dream was accomplished, and I am very excited to serve as a California FFA State Officer. I enjoyed meeting all the other candidates throughout the process and look forward to this coming year.”

Department Chair Mark Powell stated, “This prestigious and historic achievement that Melissa and Carlos have attained validates and supports what the members and advisors of the Santa Maria FFA chapter have always believed and known about Carlos and Melissa, and that is that these are two very talented, extremely hardworking, and inspiring leaders. Both Melissa and Carlos not only shared this dream but shared the same purpose and reason for why this dream was so important to them and worth pursuing. They both wanted to inspire the students not only from the Santa Maria community but all students across the state who have stories and backgrounds similar to theirs, which in my opinion is a crucial trait of true leaders leading by example.”

Santa Maria FFA took 28 students to attend the leadership conference (March 21-24).

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  • Santa Maria FFA’s 28 members who attended the leadership conference with the AG teachers. Photo Provided By Ms. Pineda

Additional highlights from the conference include four seniors earning FFA State Scholarships. Melissa Lua Duarte won $1,800 from the Almond Board of California, Ayari Portillo Martinez won $1,250 from the Betty Bushong Memorial, Vanessa Nunez Jacuinde won $1,000 and Prela Delgado Paniagua won $1,000 from the Jamie Lynne Pettey Memorial.

Senior Scholarship winner Perla Delgado stated, “I am extremely grateful for California FFA and the Jamie Lynn Pettit Scholarship, as being the youngest of 4 and being the first to go to college, this opportunity brought me a step closer to paying for college as I will be attending to Cal Poly SLO for Agriculture Science!”

Carlos Nunez Jacuinde was also the State Proficiency in Fruit Production from his work in the strawberry industry. This award honors FFA members who, through supervised agricultural experiences, have developed specialized skills that they can apply to their future careers. He has now qualified to compete at the national level with his Fruit Production Proficiency.

Additionally, Santa Maria FFA was the South Coast Regional winner and a state finalist for both their Website and National Chapter Awards, two students who served as conference delegates, two students who served as Committee and Sub-Committee Chairs, and six members competed in the State Finals Parliamentary Procedure Contest.

Junior Emma Rodriguez stated, “Being a delegate for the California state FFA was one of the most memorable and exciting opportunities I have ever had. I was able to be in a subcommittee, give a report to the South Coast region, vote on the FFA constitution, and vote for the 2024-2025 state officers. I truly enjoyed this opportunity and was able to meet so many people and was able to expand my knowledge of FFA.”

Junior Victoria Sanchez said, “As a delegate for the California FFA you work hard and to be a part of the experience and history was a great honor. I met so many wonderful people and gained many friends and loved the energy that the delegates had. I’m glad that I had this experience that I will forever carry it with me.”

The last time Santa Maria FFA had a member serve as a California State FFA Officer was during the 2013-2014 school year, according to Saint Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor Shannon Powell.

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