skip to main content
53 Santa Maria FFA Students Earn Top Honors! back button

Fifty-three Santa Maria High School FFA students earned Proficiency and State Degree awards and were honored during the State FFA South Coast Regional Degree Ceremony at the Clark Center in Arroyo Grande on Sunday, April 3.

More than 800 teachers, students and parents attended the event from schools throughout Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties.

“What a great evening for Santa Maria FFA students, parents, and advisors.’’ said Department Chair Marc DeBernardi. “These outstanding students have worked hard outside the classroom to accomplish this high level of achievement, we are all very proud of them, it’s a great groups of students.”

A record number, forty-five, students earned their State FFA Degree. The State FFA Degree is the highest degree a member can receive by the State FFA Association. In order to qualify, members must have earned and productively invested at least $1,000 and worked 500 hours in excess of scheduled class time on an agriculture-related project and have a record of outstanding leadership abilities and 25-hours of community involvement, according to Shannon Powell of the Agriculture Department.

Proficiency Awards were presented to eight students with excellent work experience or ownership projects based on an application and their student record books. The awards honor students who have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward their future careers, Powell added.

Four students qualified as State Finalist in their respective proficiency area. They are seniors Jose Rios who has qualified in the area of Agriculture Mechanics Repair & Maintenance Placement,

Nicole Yerena who qualified in the area of Agriscience Research Animal Systems and Julio Hurtado-Juarez who qualified in the area of Equine Science Entrepreneurship. Junior Alex Sandoval also qualified in the area of Turf Grass Management. All four students will compete at the State competition at California State University, Fresno in late April.

“This past weekend I received my State FFA Degree and Proficiency Award in the area of Agriscience Research Integrated Systems,’’ said Paola Lomeli, junior. “I am truly proud of my accomplishments in the FFA. It was not easy to earn these awards as it took many hours of hard work.’’

In addition, SMHS Special Education Teacher, Mrs. Kristie VanHorn was honored as the South Coast Regional Star Regional Faculty/Staff Member for her many hours of dedication and support of the FFA program. Assistant Principal Mr. Paul Robinson was also recognized as the Santa Barbara Sectional FFA Star Administrator for his continual support of the FFA Program.

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is committed to ensuring equal, fair, and meaningful access to employment and education services. The SMJUHSD does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis and/or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, ethnic group identifications, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital, family or parental status, medical condition, military or veteran status, nationality, national origin, immigration status, political affiliation, pregnancy and related conditions, race, religion, retaliation, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by California state and federal nondiscrimination laws respectively. Not all bases of discrimination will apply to both education services and employment. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, immediately contact the District’s Discrimination, Equity and Title IX Compliance Officer Mr. Kevin R. Platt at 2560 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, (805) 922-4573 or You may request a copy of SMJUHSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, Non-Discrimination Policies, Sexual Harassment Policies or click here.