Wednesday, May 23, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 11

Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on May 1st, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 8 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 8

Local students take the California FFA helm


Local students take the California FFA helm

It’s not the first time students from Santa Maria and the surrounding area have been elected to serve as California FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) officers, but it’s not something that happens every day, either.

And for the two young ladies taking their first year after high school graduation to lead the 76,000-member organization, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. At the 85th annual California FFA Leadership Conference, Riley Nilsen from Nipomo High School was elected president of the organization and Valerie Cañas from Santa Maria High School was elected vice president.

California FFA’s newly elected president, Riley Nelson from Nipomo, and vice president, Valerie Cañas of Santa Maria, posed with the rest of the officers chosen at the 85th annual leadership conference: Gabrielle Frank, Seldon Overton, Gage Willey, and Hunter Berry.

The last time a Nipomo FFA student served as a state officer was four years ago, and it was 10 years ago for Santa Maria High. The ladies will get the chance to visit the state’s 358 FFA chapters, stay up to date on student projects, and represent California at national FFA and agricultural conferences.

“We serve as that link between the agricultural industry and our members,” Cañas said. “As state officers, it’s our job to represent them and serve them.”

For Cañas, becoming an officer gives her a chance to give back to an organization she feels changed the path of her life. Although she only came across agriculture and the FFA as a freshman at Santa Maria High, it turned into her passion. She said the experience gave her something to belong to and taught her how to be a leader.

“It was something that I could call my family and call my home,” Cañas said.

Four other high school students were also chosen to serve as officers for the 2013-2014 school year: Gabrielle Frank from Galt as secretary, Gage Willey from East Nicolaus as treasurer, Seldon Overton from McArthur as reporter, and Hunter Berry from San Joaquin as sentinel.

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