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The Righetti FFA knows their apples from oranges, so the saying goes.

The team is now the California FFA State Champion Fruit Tree Judging Team. They recently earned the honor during the FFA State Conference at Fresno State University.

The students were tested on four classes of fruit trees. They used their knowledge to select the trees that would produce the most fruit and money. Then, they had to give a speech explaining their conclusions about the plum, peach, nectarine and almond trees.

The event is designed to effectively prepare the students for current agriculture pomology practices and procedures used in today’s industry, according to FFA Advisor Miguel Guerra. Careers in this field require a high degree of knowledge and skills and the ability to solve different problems, he added.

“We once again beat all the schools from the valley who have all the trees to practice on,’’ Guerra said. “I can’t wait to have our own orchard at the new property (SMJUHSD’s Agricultural Education and Career Technical Centers) where we can get even better and continue to win.’’

FFA members Bianca Calderon and Kayleigh Hollum said the experience helped them with “public speaking and how to make sound decisions quickly”.

Teammates Jenny Herrera and Gilbert Munoz said they have an understanding of low and high quality fruit trees and how to use that knowledge even if they don’t select a career in agriculture.

“I think this has great benefits for my future, whether I go into a career in fruit science or not,’’ Herrera said. “If I simply go to the store to buy a fruit tree, I now know how to choose the best one and know why I am choosing it.’’

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