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FFA Leadership Team

Jorge Gonzalez-President
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President – Melissa Lua

Hey Santa Maria Saints! My name is Melissa Lua Duarte and I have the absolute pleasure of serving as your Santa Maria FFA Chapter President! I am a senior and am enrolled in my fourth year of agriculture. This past year, I served as Chapter Reporter, and had the opportunity to be involved in Parliamentary Procedure, Prepared Public speaking, Tree Pruning and Nursery & Landscape. Not to mention, I was a part of the State Champion Tree Judging Team. I’ve also had a bit of experience showing animals at the Santa Barbara County Fair, with my turkey, Fitzgerald, and my pig, Gilbert Jose Jefferson. This year, I am also serving as secretary for the South Coast Region and am excited to see you all at regional events! Outside of FFA, I'm involved in other clubs like Close-Up Washington, Alpine Club, FACT Club, and just enjoy baking and spending time with family and friends. I hope to see all of you getting involved and I can’t wait to show you all what this year has in store because I know that “together” we can make this year a success!  

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Vice President I - Jhoana Hernandez 

Hey Santa Maria FFA, my name is Jhoana Hernandez and I am serving as one of your 2023-2024 Chapter Vice Presidents and Set-Up and Breakdown Committee Chair.!!! I am a senior this year and will be going into my fourth and final year in FFA. Through my time in FFA I have been involved in various public speaking competitions like Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Impromptu, Prepared Public Speaking and Parliamentary Procedure. I have also participated in different judging teams like Horse Judging, Tree Pruning , and I was also a part of the State Champion Poultry Judging Team. I’ve also shown livestock at the Santa Barbara County Fair for the past two years. This year I will also be serving as the South Coast Regional Reporter!!!. Outside of the blue jacket you can find me out on the dance floor, having a great time with my friends and family, or evening being involved in different clubs around campus. I can’t wait to meet you all this year and help all of you get out of your shell. I want to help encourage all of you to get as involved as you can and make amazing memories with this organization!

Vice President II – Vanessa Nuñes

Hellooo everyone, my name is Vanessa Nuñez and I am honored to say that I will be serving as one of your chapter Vice Presidents and Food Committee chairs! This year will be my fourth year being involved in the FFA program and I’d like to say that I’ve grown tremendously. From my very first public speaking competition to raising market hogs for the fair and earning my State Degree, I have loved every moment and have learned tons of skills ranging from leadership to floral judging. Outside of my time dedicated to FFA, I love baking pies, crocheting, going to the movie theater and eating sushi! I am very excited to be serving among this year’s team of leaders and advisors and look forward to meeting you all and becoming unidos in this exciting year to come!

Secretary – Emily Guzman 

Hey, I am Emily Guzman, your 2023-2024 Chapter Secretary. I’ve been pretty involved in FFA the last few years and I am excited to finally be serving as an officer. I was on the Parli-Pro team, Fruit Tree Pruning team and Vegetable Judging team. Throughout the last three years of being on the Vegetable Judging team, my team and I finally won the Cal Poly State Finals. Even though that chapter is done, I don’t plan on stopping in CDE’s. I also raised turkeys, had ag mechanic projects and crops at the CTE. A fun fact about me is that freshman year, my first ever competition was the sectional Opening and Closing competition. There I memorized the Secretary’s part, and I even won my first award. Three years later, I am now the Chapter and Sectional Secretary. I enjoy that story because it reminds me of how far I’ve come.

I can’t wait to meet new members and get everyone involved this next year. I hope I help members find themselves within this organization. I’ll see you out there Saints! Don’t be shy to ask for help or say hello!

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Treasurer – Jessica Avendano

Hey Santa Maria, FFA members!! My name is Jessica Avendano. I am excited to be serving as your 2023–2024 Chapter Treasurer. I have been a part of this impactful organization for the past 3 years and will be going into my last! These past 3 years I have raised a turkey , been involved in public speaking events, and CDE teams. I began my interest in FFA through The Nursery Landscape and the Fruit Tree judging team. Through my time on the Fruit Tree judging, I was a part of the state champion team and was the First High Individual in the state! Outside of FFA, I love spending time with those around me, cheerleading, and making fun memories. I have made many friendships, bonds, and memories here. I look forward to seeing you all being involved in your years to make your own memories as well! I eagerly encourage you all to enjoy and utilize this opportunity of being involved in this organization. Let’s go Santa Maria FFA members!

Reporter 1 - Kayce Van Horn

"What's up Saints! For those who don't know me. My name is Kayce Van Horn and I will be surving as one of your reporters this year. I have been in FFA for the last two years and have done Creed, Impromptu, Vegetable judging, Opening and Closing, and many more contests. Last year, I was on the state champion Vegetable Judging Team! I also went to state for Creed, and finished top 24 my freshman year. Along with competitions, I served as one of your Greenhand Officers last year. This year, I have lots of plans for this chapter. Some of those plans are getting to know each of you, getting more people in our community and state to know who we are, as well as making this organization a home for each of you. Along with serving our chapter, I will be serving as the Santa Barbara Section Vice President. I hope to plan fun activities for the whole section, and inform all of you about the sectional events so you can participate! I’m super excited for this year!! Let’s make it a great one!”

Reporter II - Kareen Martinez

Heyyyy Santa Maria FFA, my name is Kareen Martinez and this year I will be serving as one of your 2023-2024 Chapter Reporters and I couldn’t be more excited for this upcoming year that is sure to be filled with amazing memories and opportunities. Throughout my years in FFA I have been a part of the Soil and Land Evaluation Team, Cooperative Marketing since my sophomore year and is my favorite part of the year. I also raised market sheep for the first time this last year and I couldn’t be more grateful for the amazing experience and my lamb Achilles who I grew to love! Outside of FFA I am team captain of the Varsity Girls Golf team and have been part of the team for three years.  I hope that this year I can show you what FFA is all about and get you excited to be part of our chapter! I am so excited to get to know all of you guys!

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Sentinel – Perla Delgado 

Hi Santa Maria FFA, I’m Perla Delgado! I am serving as your 2023-2024 Santa Maria FFA Chapter Sentinel, I am currently 17 years old and a senior. This will be my 3rd year in FFA. In those years I have done many things including being on the Vet Science team for the past 2 years, and done lots of community service with FFA totalling to over 50 hours.  Most importantly  I have raised Market Rabbits for 2 years and a hog for the Santa Barbara County Fair as my SAE projects. I have had the opportunity to serve as a Sectional, Regional and a State delegate. One of my favorite things about FFA is that we travel all over California and meet new people with our CDE teams. I have greatly enjoyed all the experiences and opportunities that this program has given me so far, the friendships I have made, and knowledge I will carry for the rest of my life. As your Sentinel I hope I make all of you guys feel welcome and included in our program. I would love to meet all of you all and become friends!.

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Meeting Games chair  – David Guerra 

Hey Santa Maria FFA my name is David Guerra and I will be serving as one of your 2023– 2024 Activities and Games committee chairman. This year in high school I am a junior. I’ve done many different things, which range from public speaking to Parli-Pro to Tree Pruning and Farm Power CDE, as well as Forestry and Project Competition. I am also planning to raise at next year's fair in 2024. I’m always eager to meet more people, and if I haven’t met you already, I’m excited to meet you all in the near future. David Grr heading outttt!!!

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Community Service Chair – Clara Trenado 

Hello, my name is Clara Trenado and I will be one of your 2023-2024 Community Service Committee chairs and I am extremely excited to be in this year's leadership team. Some things about me are that I have raised market lambs for 2 years now and have a huge passion for FFA. I am also part of the poultry judging team and have been for the past 2 years. Also, I am the first person in my family to join FFA and I am so happy that I found out what FFA was in my freshman year. I never thought I would get this amazing opportunity, but I am so grateful I did because I get to meet new people not just in my chapter but also all around the state of California. I have also participated in multiple public speaking competitions such as Opening and Closing and Impromptu. Outside of school I am very involved in agriculture. I work with a pumpkin patch called Patch of Santa Maria and without my advisor, Mr. DeBernardi, I would probably not be as involved with stuff outside of school like I am. My family is also a big part of everything I do because without their input and encouragement I wouldn't be the person I am today. Once again, I am so excited and can’t wait to be a part of this year's leadership team!!” 

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Social Media & Website / Community Service Chair– Karla Vargas

Hey Santa Maria FFA!!! My name is Karla Vargas and I will be serving as one of your Social Media and Website Committee Chair and Community Service Chairs for the 2023-2024 school year. I am extremely excited to be working alongside these incredible people. I’ve been in the FFA for three years now and while being in the FFA I’ve been able to accomplish many things. To start off, I am part of the Milk Qua

lity and Products Food judging team and have been for the past two years. I’ve raised livestock for the Santa Barbara County fair for the past two years. My first year I raised a turkey and my second year I raised a goat. FFA has helped me expand my public speaking abilities and has allowed me to be able to meet new people all around California. I am extremely excited to meet more FFA members this year!!

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Social Media & Website chair – Gabriela Cabrera 

Yolo Santa Maria FFA, what's up? My name is Gabriela Cabrera but I'd rather you call me Gaby and I'll be your 2023-2024 Social Media and Website Committee Chair! Let me give you the inside scoop on myself. I'm currently on the Parliamentary Procedure team, Horse judging team and I also play tennis on a daily basis. Throughout FFA, I have learned that having a family away from family is key and I want to give everyone that opportunity. It may sound cheesy, but everyone can learn! For the past two years I've been raising Market Lambs! Last year I had a lamb named Icarus (like the god) and he was one of the best things that happened to me. I went to Gigi's farm every day and I created family quality time. I also showed him to prepare for the moment that everyone was scared for; Fair. He was a little stubborn at first but I created a bond with him that made me shed a tear in the end and I wouldn't trade the memories of fair and Icarus. Hopefully, I'll be able to help you this coming year at the fair! You can find me anywhere, I'm not kidding anywhere, and I'll always be there to help you with any problems that may arise. Let's make this year one not to forget!

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Recruitment & Retention Chair – Leo Villanueva

What’s up Santa Maria FFA! My name is Leonardo Fabela and I will be serving as one of your 2023-2024 Recruitment & Retention and Activities and Games Committee Chairman. I am very excited to serve as a committee chairman and although this is only my second year in this program, I’ve competed in multiple competitions such as B.I.G., Opening and Closing, Creed in which I made it to the second round in the regional level. I’m also a member of the Milk Quality and Dairy Products judging team. Outside of competitions I’ve attended some conferences such as the State Leadership Conference and the Greenhand Leadership Conference. I was also given the opportunity to raise a lamb for the Santa Barbara County Fair which was an amazing experience. I hope to stay as involved as I was my freshman year and I want to get to know everyone, especially the freshman to show them how much this program offers everyone.

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Recruitment & Retention Chair – Cristina Sanchez

Hellooo Santa Maria FFA! My name is Cristina Sanchez and I will be serving as one of your 2023-2024 Recruitment and Retention Committee chairs. I’m currently a junior so I’ve been involved in FFA for these past two years and it’s been a great experience to grow as an individual and friend. There are many opportunities for all members provided by the FFA organization. Several examples I enjoy talking about and are part of are the Light Horse Judging team & Parliamentary Procedure team. We’ve both made it to the State Finals and I’m very proud of our teams. Also, as SAE projects, I’ve raised and shown a market turkey & a sheep for the Santa Barbara County Fair. Outside of FFA, I’ve been honored by my peers & became class treasurer for the class of 2025. Outside of all these academic titles I’m an athlete, a friend, a sister and so much more. Therefore, I’m excited for this opportunity to meet all you guys & become friends if we haven’t yet. My goal is to get everybody to participate & have a good and fun time being in the FFA because it will begin to feel like a home to many like it did for me.

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Recruitment & Retention Chair – Jose Reina

Hello, my name is Jose Reina , I am from the Santa Maria FFA and will be serving as a committee chair for the year 2023-2024. My goal for this year is to make a difference in people’s lives. I want to encourage and help people get involved so our FFA chapter can grow and prosper. My favorite part of FFA is that it prepares you for life and how to overcome obstacles. What got me into FFA was my love for animals and livestock in general. Getting involved has so far been the best decision I’ve made in high school. I’m excited to serve as your Food committee and Recruitment and Retention committee. Together we can make the difference that will form your roots in this chapter and in life.

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Public Relations Chair – Carolina Espinoza

Hey everyone, my name is Carolina Espinoza-Valdez. I am currently a senior and a fourth-year member of the FFA program, who is now serving as your 2023-2024 Public Relations Chair. Over the past years I have participated in multiple speaking and judging competitions and attended various conferences. I was a part of the Vegetable Judging Team that placed 1st High Team at the 2023 Cal Poly State Finals. I have enjoyed raising a market lamb for the last 2 years, I also love listening to music and being surrounded by my friends. I am beyond excited for this new year and being able to work with the incoming FFA members!Unidos! 

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Public Relations Chair – Melissa Ramirez

Hello Santa Maria FFA, my name is Melissa Ramirez. I am currently a Junior as well as a third year member of FFA. This year I have received the great honor of serving as one of your 2023-2024 Public Relations Committee Chair. I am really excited to take on this leadership role and see how much we continue to grow and achieve great goals that we have set for each other as well as a chapter. As an FFA member I have stayed involved by being a second time Lamb and Rabbit exhibitor for the Santa Barbara County Fair. I also competed in Opening in Closing, Impromptu, Spanish Creed and Parliamentary Procedure. My Parliamentary Procedure team and I made it to the State level. I also had the opportunity to attend two conferences, the first one being MFE (Made for excellence) and State Conference. I was also part of the Greenhand Officer team. Through these competitions, conferences and leadership roles I have developed important skills like time management, responsibility, and resilience that I will make sure to incorporate in our chapter to maintain it successfully.  FFA offers great opportunities, and it is never too late to take advantage and develop your leadership skills that will later benefit you in the future. Unidos let’s make great memories that will last a lifetime. 

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Meeting Publicity Chair – Luz Ramirez 

HEYYYY Santa Maria FFA my name is Luz Ramirez and I’m so thrilled to be serving as one of your 2023-2024 Meeting Publicity Chairs. This will be my second year in the FFA, and I am glad to say I was given the chance to raise a rabbit for the Santa Barbara County Fair. The past year I was also given the opportunity to do speaking competitions such as Opening & Closing, Creed, aswell as Spanish creed that has given me the confidence to do so much more this year. I was also given the chance to be a part of the BIG team where we won first place overall, we were all so thrilled and I can't explain how I felt. Besides being in my blue jacket I enjoy going out with friends and family, as well as singing and dancing although both areas could use a little help. I can’t wait to work with each and every one of you and encourage you to strive to achieve your goals this following year.

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AG Literacy Chair – Betsy Barrueta

Hey Santa Maria FFA! My name is Betzabeth Barrueta also known as Betsy. I am thrilled to be serving as one of your 2023-2024 Community Service Committee Chairs! I'm currently a sophomore and this is my second year being involved in the FFA program. I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of B.I.G, attend GLC, State Conference, participated in a public speaking contest, and have been a part of a CDE team (Milk Quality and Dairy Foods). FFA has helped me grow as a public speaker and has helped me prosper more than I could imagine. I have met so many supportive people all while having fun! I hope to meet all of you, mostly the freshmen and help them find their perfect spot in this organization! Outside my Blue Jacket I enjoy spending time with family, traveling, and playing sports. I look forward to showing everyone what this amazing organization has to offer!

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AG Literacy Chair – Leslie Rodriguez

Hello, Santa Mara FFA! Leslie Rodriguez here! And I will be serving as one of your 2023-2024 Ag Literacy Committee Chairs. I am a sophomore, and this is my 2nd year in our amazing program called FFA. I want to start off by saying how amazing and impactful FFA has been to me. I grew up around agriculture, but I never saw myself being as involved as I am now. But with the help of our kind FFA members and advisors, this year I have been involved in many wonderful experiences. I have attended and helped at our fun chapter’s meetings, competed in public speaking competitions, raised a market hog, helped grow pumpkins at the CTE center, and am a proud member of the Veggie Judging Team! Outside of my blue jacket, I am a part of the Varsity Track and Field and Cross-Country teams. My experiences in FFA have made me passionate and helped me grow as a person, and I want to use my experiences to encourage others to be involved and help others find their place in FFA like I did! I hope to meet more of our blue and gold members, and I know that together we will thrive and make unforgettable memories!

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Set-up & Breakdown Committee Chair - Jesus Alonso  

Hey saints!! My name is Jesus Alonso and I am very excited to serve as one of yours Set-up and Break down committee chairs!! I am currently a Junior, and this is my 3rd year in FFA! I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of the Poultry judging team and this year was my first year exhibiting a pig at the Santa Barbara County Fair! FFA has helped me grow as a person and has showed me this is something I want to pursue later in life. I’ve met so many amazing and supportive people that have helped me push myself to my limits. Out of FFA you can find me working doing community service or just being with family and friends just having a great time! I hope to show everyone how FFA can bring out the best in you!

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Decorations Committee Chair- Emma Rodriguez Hey Santa Maria FFA!! My name is Emma Rodriguez and I am extremely excited to be serving as one of your 2023-2024 Decorations Committee Chair. I am currently a junior and this is my third year in FFA. Throughout my time in FFA I have competed in speaking competitions, attended MFE and State conference, raised market rabbits and a market lamb and I am apart of the Vet Science CDE team. This year I look forward to meeting new people and creating lots of new memories! If you see me around campus feel free to ask any questions or say hi!

With 1,100 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 fifteen outstanding students who round out our leadership team

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