Galt teacher Mandy Garner has been chosen as California's star FFA adviser after besting four peers in a final interview over the weekend. The Liberty Ranch High School ag department chairwoman's honor was announced at the state convention in Fresno on Sunday.
But that wasn't the only good news to come out of the event.
Galt High School senior Gabrielle Frank was elected state FFA secretary. She will serve as a California ambassador alongside five fellow officers over the next year.
In addition, the Liberty Ranch FFA Advanced Parliamentary Procedure Team — a debate contest that evaluates students' ability to run an effective meeting — placed first and are California FFA champions, allowing them to move onto the national competition in October.
Parliamentary procedure is the most competitive and well-known competition in FFA, according to adviser Bryan Dodson. Nearly 40 teams competed statewide.
Here are the winners from Liberty Ranch:
- Sophomore Victoria Boxley competed in the Impromptu Speaking Contest, which challenges students to speak on a topic for two minutes they drew just minutes before. She placed fifth statewide.
- Senior Brandon Denier won a state proficiency for Goat Production and will now have to qualify for nationals. If he does, he too will compete at the National FFA Convention.
- Sarah Stotts and Abriana Cardenas took first place in the state for their agri-science project. Like Denier, they will have to qualify for nationals. If they do, they will compete at National FFA Convention, according to Dodson.
The winners from Galt High School:
- Nicole Crouch received first place High Individual in the farm records contest, while Cesar Chavez was second-place High Individual in marketing, and the school's team placed second overall.
- The chapter's Novice Parliamentary Procedure Team from Galt High School was fourth in the state. Team members were Graciella Barajas, Makenna Wagers, Megan Oliveira, Emily Martinez, Zach Ziemer and Michayla Davidson.
- Brandon McNealy placed second in the state the Agricultural Mechanics Repair/Maintenance Placement.
From Lodi High School:
- The following students received state proficiency awards: Vanessa Bergthold, Agricultural Sales Entrepreneurship; Jordan Sparrowk, Beef Production Placement; and Roy Yates, Beef Production Entrepreneurship, according to the state FFA website. Additional information was unavailable.
- Yates was also named the California Star Farmer state winner. Each year, the award recognizes the top production agriculture program and individuals with proven leadership skills. Considered the highest recognition in California for an aspiring young farmer, the award recognizes achievement in both career and leadership development. Yates maintains his own cow/calf operation with 105 bred cows and more than 700 acres of leased land.
Garner, the teacher from Galt, was nominated last fall for the Star Sectional FFA Adviser award for the Sacramento section, which covers the greater Sacramento area. From there, her application was reviewed against the other sectional winners throughout the Central Region, which covers Sacramento to Merced.
Last month she learned that she had been selected as the Star Regional Adviser. Among the criteria for being chosen is how involved the teacher is in leadership activities and contributions made to education, according to the state FFA website.
Garner was one of the original teachers to move from Galt High to Liberty Ranch when the school opened in 2009. In an interview last month, fellow Liberty Ranch teacher Dodson said that Garner worked hard to build the new high school's agriculture program, creating partnerships with community supporters and parents, and she was instrumental in the construction of the school's ag building.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.