Two Bret Harte High School students are taking their passion of working with agriculture to the next level.
Dominic Santella and Rowan Perry, both juniors at Bret Harte, were each one of the top three state finalists for their respective Future Farmers of America (FFA) proficiency categories.
Both Perry and Santella won their section and region and traveled to Anaheim on April 27 to compete at the state level for the FFA State Proficiency Finals at the organization’s state convention.
The Agricultural Proficiency Awards recognize young agricultural enthusiasts who have worked hard in their selected specialties.
According to the FFA website, the “Agricultural Proficiency Awards honor FFA members who, through supervised agricultural experiences, have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward their future careers.”
There are 50 different categories students can compete in. The awards are given at local and state levels and provide a good foundation for a future career in the student’s particular area of interest, should they choose to pursue the subject area as a future career endeavor.
Perry has been involved in FFA for three years and, as one of the managers, focuses on the sheep co-op. For her proficiency, Perry is raising and training guide dogs for the blind, under the category of Small Animal Care and Development. She was inspired to get involved in the training when raisers (representatives) from the puppy club attended one of her FFA meetings.
“I instantly knew I wanted to do it,” Perry said. Perry will also be showing a lamb at the Calaveras County Fair. As her future career vocation, she hopes to become a large animal veterinarian or enter the medical field.
“I’m just so glad to have such a great supportive system and how they have helped me get to where I am,” Perry said. “I want to thank my family and Mr. Trevor Airola, who has helped me with my proficiency.”
Santella’s proficiency is Goat Production.
“I would just like to say that I am extremely proud of the efforts of these two students. The application process is very lengthy and complex, so it is a feat just to apply, let alone make it as far as they both have,” said Trevor Airola, the agriculture teacher at Bret Harte who helped the students prepare for their proficiencies. “All of our students work hard behind the scenes on their Supervised Agricultural Experience projects, but Dominic and Rowan are definitely deserving of recognition for all of their efforts and I am hopeful that the judges at state finals agree with me."
The first-place winners were announced at the competition, but the second- and third-place winners have not been announced as of yet.