Funds support travel expenses to conferences, competitions, and beyond

PASO ROBLES — The community gathered on Saturday, March 9, to support the nearly 500 Paso Robles High School FFA Chapter members. The Estrella Hall building at the Paso Robles Event Center was full of patrons ready to support the program. 

Agriculture Department Chair Theresa Clark told Paso Robles Press of the event, “The generosity of our community is amazing and we are thankful for the support they have given these students.”

The annual event has gained popularity throughout the last few years. What started as a drive-thru barbecue has evolved into a larger event complete with dinner, drinks, and a live auction. Clark thanks the group of supportive parents and sponsors who help bring the event into fruition each year.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will help support the chapter’s travel expenses to FFA conventions, conferences, competitions, and events throughout the year. The funds will also go towards senior scholarships and more to help the program move forward. Recently, the parent boosters group was able to fund new show equipment for the livestock teams who take their projects to the fair. 

The chapter continues to rise in FFA excellence as they were named fifth in the state last year.

Members have been busy at various competitions while also gearing up for the Salinas Valley Fair in May and the California Mid-State Fair in July — both of which will soon be here for those taking animal and industrial projects.

Last weekend, the Chapters Livestock Judging and Veterinary Science teams attended the Modesto Junior College Field Day. During field days, FFA teams ranging from livestock judging to poultry and horticulture compete against other FFA chapters in the state. At Modesto this year, nearly 2,000 contestants competed in over 20 events.

The livestock judging team, including members Briley Bowen, Chandler Shaffer, Lane Gardner, and Dawson Jaureguy, placed 18th overall and ninth in swine judging.

The veterinary science team, including Jaxyn Meyers, April Clements, Reese Ponti, and Jaydence Young, placed 25th overall and Clements placed ninth in the Practicums.

Earlier this month, members participated in the Regional Spring Meeting and Regional Public Speaking Competition. Briley Bowen participated in the Impromptu and placed in second in the region. Now, she will move on to be a state finalist. During that competition, Reese Ponti, Liam Clark, and Jaydence Young competed at the Regional level for Creed and Kiana Keogh competed in the Job Interview. 

Many of the FFA competitions help students with public speaking, critical thinking, and other skills to help them in various careers later in life.

PRHS FFA Booster President Aimee Richard estimates that this year’s fundraiser will surpass last year’s record.

“This fundraiser has continued to grow and every year we continue to surpass the previous year’s record. We are in complete awe of the tremendous generosity and support from the community we call home. We could not do this without the small army of volunteers and supporters who keep coming back year after year,” said Richard.

She estimates that between donations of goods and services and the night of, they will raise over $200,000 in total from the event. 

“This fundraiser is vital to the success of our Chapter and students,” added Clark. “It provides so many opportunities for our students and helps them develop into young leaders for our community and industry.”

Featured Photo

(From left) Samantha Roby, Jaxyn Myers, Jaydence Young-Hermosillo, Reese Ponti pose at the Paso Robles High FFA banquet. Photo by Camille DeVaul