FFA Leadership Team

Jorge Gonzalez-President

Hey Saints! It’s me! Veronica Garcia, serving as your 2021-2022 Santa Maria FFA Chapter President! I’m so excited to kick off this school year together as we begin to transition from online to in person! This will be my 4th year in FFA! I chose FFA because it was a way for me to learn my science courses with hands- on activities! Throughout my time here, I’ve been able to compete in public speaking events, raise market lambs, travel throughout California and have found a family where I can laugh and have tons of fun! Outside of the blue and gold jacket, I love doing community service! I’m part of Key Club and serve as their vice president! I’m also part of Close- Up Washington DC and serve as their Secretary. Within my family, I love being outside and traveling. I love being around nature! This year will be incredibly amazing! I can’t wait to meet you all and create memories that will last a lifetime and remember to keep going sin miedo!  

Veronica Garcia, President


Hey guys! My name is Eric Ceja and  I’m your 2021-2022 Vice-President. I’ve been in in this wonderful program for four years. While my time in FFA, I’ve been involved in numerous events and community service activities such as thrive, Altrusa, State conferences such as MFE and ALA. I have also been in my chapter’s vet science judging team for two years. I am also the committee chairman for the food committee. While being in this program, I have gotten the opportunity to raise 3 market hogs and my first year I placed 1st in my breed’s weight class. Outside of FFA, I like being outdoors, whether its fishing, hunting, or growing plants. I chose FFA since I have always loved animals and had a passion for them and plants. FFA has shown me responsibility, leadership skills, has given me endless opportunities to meet new people and have hands on experience. I highly encourage all of you guys to get involved in our chapter whether it’s helping out in our next FFA meeting or simply being in a speaking or judging team. 

Eric Ceja, Vice President

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What’s up Santa Maria FFA! My name is Zaira Hernandez and I am serving as your 2021-2022 Chapter Secretary. Coming from a family of farmers, AG is something that I’ve always been surrounded with and that’s why I embrace AGRICULTURE.  I am currently a senior in high school and this will be my fourth year being a part of this amazing organization. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in various FFA activities such as serving my community/chapter, being a state delegate, attending leadership conferences, participating in speaking contests, and raising livestock for the SBCF; all while having fun and making new friends. When I am not in my blue jacket, I love going out and making new memories with loved ones. As we faze out of the lockdown and back to reality, I hope to see you at our FFA events.

Zaira Hernandez Bazan, Secretary

Hello everyone! My name is Juventino Ramirez and I will be serving as your 2021-2022 Chapter Treasurer. I am currently a junior and have been involved in FFA since my freshman year. Since then, I have joined the Farm Power and Light Horse Judging teams, constructed a metal project for the Santa Barbara County fair, and have found an affinity for metalworking and mechanics. What drew me to metalworking was my strong desire to create and understand. This led me to discover other branches of Ag and I have been exploring as much as possible since then. I am excited to serve you this year and I hope we can all share the desire to create and understand the world around us! 

Juventino Ramirez, Treasurer

Hello Santa Maria FFA, It is a great pleasure to introduce myself to you all. My name is Manuel Gomez and I will be serving as your 2021-2022 Chapter Reporter. I enjoy playing many different sports and love to read. I choose to join FFA because I loved animals and because I felt welcomed when I first walked into my first ag class. In the FFA I joined many speaking contest including Parliamentary Procedure, Parliamentary Procedure allowed me to get out of my shell and embrace myself. My goal for this year is to strive and become an FFA officer that will lead this chapter to a successful future. If I have anything to say to the chapter I would say to get involved and enjoy what this FFA chapter has to offer. Welcome to the Santa Maria FFA chapter!! 

Maunel Gomez, Reporter 

Hi, my name is Ayari Portillo I am 15 years old and currently a sophomore. I am currently serving as the 2021-2022 Chapter Sentinel. This is my second year in the FFA program so far, I have raised a market lamb, joined the land evaluation judging team, and participated in the creed speaking contest among many other things just in my freshman year. I joined FFA because I wanted to be more involved with my school and make more friends and just have fun. The friends I have made this year will probably stay with me for a very long time. I have made so many amazing memories and can’t wait to make more. Safe to say joining FFA was the best decision of my life so far. 

Ayari Portillo, Sentinel 

Hey Saints ! My name is Angela Acevedo and I will be serving as one of your Community Service Committee Chair. I am a senior and a 4th year FFA member. Throughout my experience I have had the opportunity to participate in a range of activities from doing opening/closing ceremonies for public speaking to raising market goats at the SBCF and have had advisors pushing me past limits I thought weren’t possible.  Besides AG I’m also involved in other extracurriculars like volleyball and Spanish Honors Society. My favorite thing to do is buying unnecessary items from Amazon and outside of school you can catch me napping or watching anime. I’m very excited to see what this year holds and let’s move forward together, Sin Miedo! 

Angela Acevedo, Community Service Committee Chair

Hello Santa Maria FFA! My name is Maria Pacheco, I am currently a senior and this is my fourth year of being involved in this great organization. This year I am serving as one of your Community Service Committee Chairs for the 2021-2022 school year. I have had the opportunity to contribute to several community service events and I am very delighted to get you amazing FFA members involved to help out the community! I have also been involved in vegetable judging team, public speaking competitions, monthly meetings and last but not least I have been raising a lamb for the Santa Barbara county fair for the past three years. Outside of FFA I’m also involved in other clubs and going into my fourth year of being part of the SMHS Girls Volleyball team. Cant wait to meet all of you guys and be able to interact with you guys :)! 

Maria Pacheco, Community Service Committee Chair

What’s up Santa Maria FFA, my name is Idalis Gil and I’m super excited to be serving as one of your Agriculture Literacy Committee Chairs this year. As this will be my 4th year in FFA,  I have had the privilege to get involved in many ways, including leadership conferences, community service events, raising a lamb for the Santa Barbara County Fair and being apart of the vegetable crop judging team. Aside from FFA, I enjoy playing my instrument, the tuba, in the school band. This year, I’ve been able to have the honor to be one of the head drum majors and conduct the band. I also love hanging out with my dog named Friday. Once again, I am so excited to be serving you this year and can’t wait to make memories that will last a lifetime! 

Idalis Gil, Agriculture Literacy Committee Chair


Hi, my name is Jhoana Hernandez. This year, I will be severing as one of your Agriculture Literacy Committee Chairs. During my time in FFA so far, I have been in the Opening and Closing ceremonies, Best Informed Greenhand, Parliamentary Procedure, and the Horse Judging team. Entering my sophomore year, I plan to be involved this year as much as I was last year. If able to, I would like to be involved more. My plan for this year is to try and get as many people as I can involved in FFA. During my time outside of school and FFA, I like to spend time with my friends, reading, listening to music, and dancing. If it wasn't for one of my friends that encouraged me into joining FFA, I wouldn't have had all the opportunities and memories I have right now! I hope this year, I can help impact people's life just the same way mine was. I am so excited for the school year to start and for all of you to see all the things we have planned for FFA! 

Jhoana Hernandez, Agriculture Literacy Committee Chair


How’s it going Santa Maria FFA? My name is Maria Aguirre and this is my third year being involved in FFA. This year I am serving as one of your 2021-2022 Recruitment and Retention Committee Chairs. Over my past three years of being involved in FFA I have joined the Soils and Land Evaluation judging team as well as the Agronomy judging team. What drove me into choosing the agricultural pathway was all the opportunities that are presented to us and the hands-on experience FFA brings to you. Also Mr. DeBernardi who never stopped encouraging me and helped me strive forward since my freshman year. Besides that I have developed a love and passion for plants and planting you can catch me at any planting event at the CTE center or in the garden we started behind the shop. I also enjoy cuddling my kitty who’s name is Cooky. I am excited to see what the future holds for us and what we will accomplish as a chapter. 

Maria Aguirre, Recruitment and Retention Committee Chair


Hey Santa Maria FFA! My name is Lorena Velarde and I am serving as one of your 2021-2022 Recruitment and Retention Committee Chairs. I am currently a sophomore this year. Last year I got involved in public speaking contests like Opening and Closing Ceremonies and The FFA Creed. I wasn’t always confident when speaking to others, but by doing the Creed contest, and with the help of our supportive Advisors, I was able to overcome my fears. I have truly embraced myself. I also joined the Agronomy Judging Team. Agronomy was a challenge, but I will never regret being a part of it. Practices were always fun, and for the most part my team was great. That’s also where I got to meet one of my closest friends I have to this day. FFA will always bring something positive to your life no matter what it is and how much or how little you were involved. Last year wasn’t the best year for most of us, so my hope is for this year is for it to be memorable for all of us!

Lorena Velarde, Recruitment and Retention Committee Chair


Hello my name is  Carlos  Nunez and I am 16 years old. I am a Junior at Santa Maria High School, and am currently serving as one of your Facilities & Maintenance Committee Chairs. This is my third year enrolled in the Santa Maria FFA program. Throughout these past three years, I’ve been super involved in the ag shop working on projects. From doing oxy fuel cutting, to plasma cutting, welding, wood working, etc.. I enjoy the fact that I can turn something old and ugly into something new and cool. Aside from the shop, I’ve been in FFA’s Farm power team for two years and we are ready for our next year. Next year we hope to win First in the State. This upcoming year I will be serving as the Sentinel for the Santa Barbara Section Team and a Committee Chair for Santa Maria Chapter. I’ve raised market hogs for the past 2 years and I hope to raise another pig and cattle in the future. It's been a fun and great learning experience. The reason I chose Ag was because I wanted to meet people all over California and travel as well!! I hope to see all of you guys helping or attending the meetings!!

Carlos Nunez, Facilities & Maintenance Committee chair


Hello Santa Maria FFA! My name is Heriberto Mendez and I am serving as one of your Facilities and Maintenance Committee Chairs. I got involved in FFA when I joined the Horse Judging Team, and ever since I joined then, I started to get more involved. My agriculture teachers gave me the opportunity to raise a sheep and it was an amazing experience. FFA helped me a lot. I was able to raise my grades from c’s and d’s to having straight A’s. When I went to my first FFA meeting I told myself that one day I would be an officer or a committee chair member. I knew that to get there it was going to take a lot of work. With everything going on last year, I started to lose hope and I didn’t picture myself being part of FFA anymore, but with the help of my teachers and family I started to get motivated again. Especially when I was invited to the State FFA  Leadership Conference. Even though it was through Zoom last year, it was an amazing experience. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Heriberto Mendez, facilities and Maintenance Committee Chair


Hey there Santa Maria Saints! Let me start off by introducing myself. My name is Melissa Lua-Duarte and I will be serving as your Social Media and Webpage Committee Chair for this year! This will be my second year in FFA and I was involved in various activities last year. I participated in the opening and closing ceremony, the Creed Speaking Competition and Parliamentary Procedure. When doing these competitions, not only did I make many friends and had a blast, I learned public speaking skills that I know will stick with me through life. As for why I joined FFA, I’ve always had a love for animals, and I knew that being in FFA would help me explore that and bring me many opportunities and skills! Being a sophomore this year, I know I will continue to be involved in FFA as much as possible and I encourage all new and existing members to do the same! No matter what your interests may be, there is a place for you in FFA. I hope to see all of you getting involved!! 

Mellissa Lua-Duarte, Social Media and Webpage Committee Chair


Hello, my name is Nirvana Humbert. I am currently your Publicity Committee Chair. I am in charge of making sure that all of our newsletters go out and that we advertise our FFA meetings and other events going on. I have done Parliamentary Procedure, and our team won first place for the regional novice competition. Hopefully my sophomore year I will be able to be more involved in our FFA chapter. I still plan to do Parliamentary Procedure and when other opportunities come up, I would like to give it a try. I also plan on doing impromptu for this year. I hope that I am able to help any of those that would like to be more involved or even get into FFA through all of my available resources.

Nirvana Humbert, Publicity Committee Chair

With 1,042 members in the Santa Maria FFA Chapter, we have extended our leadership team to include those students who strive to improve their leadership skills and play an active role in our chapter.  Apart from our elected officers, this year we have ten outstanding students who round out our leadership team