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St. Helena High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) members wrapped up a banner year last week by competing in the Napa Town and Country Fair’s Junior Livestock Auction.

Beginning as early as last November, 41 students selected, cared for, trained, marketed, and maintained records for their 91 livestock projects with lambs, goats, steers, hogs, and beef heifers. Twenty-eight students kept their animals at the school facilities. Hog projects were advised by Randy Mendes and lambs, goats, and steers by Judy Aschwanden. This past week, students had the opportunity to showcase their animals at the fair.

Eight exhibitors’ projects were represented in the Champion Drive on Thursday evening. Lucia Abreu won Champion Dark Cross Hog and Ernesto Maldonado won Reserve Grand Champion Goat.

On Friday, three students participated in Round Robin: Ernesto Maldonado for goats, Lucia Abreu for hogs, and Kaitlyn Glakeler for cattle. Glakeler went on to win the Intermediate FFA Master Showman Award.

At Sunday’s Awards Ceremony, Mitchell Wilms, Garrett Pina and Alexys Bautista were awarded a total of $7,500 in scholarships from the Junior Livestock Auction Committee and the John Chusak Memorial Fund. The hog and lamb groups both earned the Clean Stall Awards.

Up next, three students are raising 50 turkeys to sell for Thanksgiving and students are growing pumpkins to be sold in October.

The competition at the fair capped off a year in which St. Helena FFA Chapter members traveled to, competed, and won awards at the local, region, state, and national levels. More than 100 students were recognized for their participation in leadership and career development events and over $25,000 was awarded at the Spring Awards Banquet this past May.

More than half of St. Helena High School, 264 students, are enrolled in agriculture courses and are active members of the National FFA Organization. Ten courses ranging from Biology/Chemistry and Ag Leadership to Viticulture and AutoCad are taught by three instructors at the high school. Randy Mendes is the lead of the Agriculture Mechanics Pathway, Judy Aschwanden for the Agriscience Pathway, and Sarah Herdell for the Plant Science Pathway.

Other highlights from the past year included:

- Two State FFA Championships: Vine Pruning and Vine Judging at Fresno State University

- Two State Proficiency Winners: Environmental Science and Natural Resource Management, Liesl Wolf Heinemann, and Vegetable Production, Alexys Bautista

- California State Website Winner: sthelenaffa.wixsite.com/shffa

- Five State High Individuals:

Liesl Wolf-Heinemann, 1st High, Vine Judging

Lisa Butala, 1st High, Agriscience Fair: Animal Systems

Alexys Bautista, 1st High, Agriscience Fair, Food Products and Processing Systems

Jake Mendes, 1st High, Agriscience Fair, Environmental Science Systems

Cody DiTomaso, 1st High, Agriscience Fair

- All CDE Teams Top 5 in the State:

Vine Pruning — 1st High Team

Vine Judging — 1st High Team

Agriscience Fair — 3rd High Team

Floriculture — 5th High Team

Ag Welding — 5th High Team

- One Regional Officer, one Sectional Officer, one State Creed Public Speaker, one CATA Outstanding Mentor Award (Judy Aschwanden)

- Best Overall Float and Best Youth Float at the Calistoga Tractor Parade

- Alexys Bautista, National Finalist, Agriscience Fair and Vegetable Production Proficiency, will compete at the National FFA Convention this October in Indianapolis

- More than 1,000 community service hours have been accumulated by members

Follow St. Helena FFA on Instagram at @sthelenaffa for more updates and news.

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