The PRHS FFA was ranked 11 out of over 330 agriculture programs in the State

PASO ROBLES — For the second year in a row, the Paso Robles High School (PRHS) Agriculture Department has been ranked in the top 20 Agriculture programs in the State of California. 

Every year statistical analysis is used by the California Department of Education to evaluate the over 330 agriculture programs throughout the State. 

Last year, the PRHS FFA Chapter placed 17 on the top 20 list. Their goal this year was to go up at least one spot. Instead, the chapter increased six spots, ranking number 11 on the list of top 20 schools.

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Agriculture departments are evaluated based on student outcomes and achievements, such as the number of State and American degree recipients, proficiency finalists, and career development teams. 

In addition to the ongoing student success, Paso Robles also set a new personal best by having 17 students earn their American FFA Degree.

The American Degree is the highest degree achievable in the National FFA Organization. It shows an FFA member’s dedication to his or her chapter and state FFA association. FFA degrees are earned by meeting qualifications set by the National FFA Organization, including:

  • Receiving a State FFA Degree
  • Holding active membership for the past three years
  • Completing secondary instruction in an agricultural education program
  • Community service hours
  • Leadership abilities
  • Outstanding scholastic achievements

American Degree holders are held in the top one percent of National agricultural students. These students are honored and receive their degrees at the National FFA Convention and Expo.

Paso Robles FFA Advisor Justin Pickard said, “Over the last three or four years, we’ve put a constant effort on making sure our students are being full program participants instead of being selective of one or two areas.”

This effort has lead Paso FFA to greatly increase their State and American Degree recipients. 

“That number [degree holders] represents we have so many students who are not only finding success but being recognized for that success,” says Pickard.

Increasing their American Degree numbers was not an easy task given the events of the last two years. The lack of community service events last year was no excuse for Paso Robles FFA. Students created their own community projects, including their Paso Strong signs, which proceeds benefited the SLO Food Bank.

“We are proud of our students and what they’ve been able to accomplish–It’s a lot of resiliency that we see in our young people, and I think that’s to be commended on their end,” said Pickard.

Agriculture advisers Justin Pickard, Amanda Gardner, and Theresa Clark have worked diligently with their talented students and families to achieve this great accomplishment.