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Thurman Award Returns To OHS For Third Year
Oakdale High School FFA earned the John Thurman Award for the third consecutive year at the Stanislaus County Fair. In addition to the prestigious trophy, FFA members also brought home trophies for Livestock and Ag Mechanics. Photo Contributed

The third time has proved to indeed be the charm as Oakdale FFA once again secured the Stanislaus County Fair Thurman Award for the third consecutive year in a row. Earning additional bragging rights, the team also brought home the overall winner’s trophy for Livestock and Ag Mechanics.

Once dominated by Hughson and Turlock, earning the Thurman for the third year was both a surprise as well as confirmation of strong team efforts for the Oakdale High Ag teaching team.

“I grew up in the area,” Department Head and FFA Leader Isaac Robles said of his longtime ties to ag and FFA, “so I always knew too, you don’t win that (the Thurman). It’s Turlock or Hughson. It’s a big accomplishment.”

According to Robles, the growth of Oakdale FFA saw membership doubled from its previous year, a fact which he attributes to students returning to the roots of Oakdale, as well as the addition of the Oakdale School Farm.

“Our number definitely doubled in terms of participation,” he said. “The doubled numbers literally came out of the farm.”

Commitment and dedication to the craft, also plays a factor as the FFA Leader shared a coordination of the staff to help manage a group of its size, as well as manage the 21-plus days of fair time over the summer.

“The four of us did a much better job than all the years I’ve been here,” he said of the FFA staff.

Robles shared, “We had a clean sweep in Clean Barn. We won Clean Barn in the four big divisions (beef, sheep, swine and goats).”

That’s an accomplishment which the leader takes great pride in. Robles acknowledged the reputation of “Oakdale” as students travel to compete in other areas. That being acknowledged, he encouraged the students to show their work ethic, which would speak volumes.

“We really put a big emphasis in those things,” he said. “Clean barn is where we’re going to show people how hard we work.”

As the team looks ahead to the coming school year, which will lead to yet another fair year, Robles shared keeping the team motivated as the focus, not allowing the students to rest on laurels or get sedentary because of past achievements, the 2019 effort should come in with equal amounts of grit and determination.