Come October of this year, Logan Douglas will be headed to Louisville, Kentucky. The OHS Class of 2014 alum however, will not be making the trek with Agriculture teacher Isaac Robles for vacation. Douglas will be en route as one of four finalists for a national Future Farmers of America proficiency award.
The graduate has many fond memories of his time spent at Oakdale High School.
He shared that much of his time, training and work ethic came from lessons learned through his involvement with Future Farmers of America.
“Freshman year, I can still remember Mr. Hartzell saying to us, Responsibility,” the now 20-year-old said. “We’re going to make sure and teach you responsibility.”
Almost as if a foreshadowing of his sophomore year, Douglas found himself traveling around town seeking part time employment.
“I was looking for something beyond high school,” Douglas said. “I was born and raised in the country and wanted something with hands on learning.”
Of the many places the student inquired about potential work, one was FISHBIO.
“It was just a blessing,” he said of his connection with the local fisheries consultants. “I asked if they were looking for anyone to help in the shop and they told me to bring back a résumé the next day.”
Douglas has now worked with FISHBIO for three years. He’s currently employed as a Fisheries Technician while he attends Modesto Junior College, where he is an Agriculture Business major.
It was the combination of Douglas’ perseverance and Robles’ passion for teaching agriculture, however, that has led to this national honor.
“The year before I started teaching in Oakdale, Logan applied but did not make it past the section level,” Robles said. “When I started working here, one of my roles was to work with students looking to apply for a proficiency award. The moment I looked through Logan’s old application and realized where things on it needed to be improved, I knew it could be something special.”
In late December of 2014 Douglas met with Robles and began working on fine-tuning his application.
“Logan’s work experience is so unique and so involved,” he continued, “particularly in this area of Wildlife Management; he should be highly competitive at the national level.”
Both men shared the application process is quite involved. Douglas first had to develop a Supervised Agriculture Experience Program (SAEP) while he was attending OHS. Over the course of those years he had to keep records of hours worked, expense and income related to his project.
“The big thing is the uniqueness of this job,” Douglas said. “Not many people in this city or even the state know what we do.
“In 2014 I progressed to Regionals and made an error. Always double check your work,” he continued.
After earning Regional and state awards this year, the duo decided to submit his application for the National level in June. Douglas learned of his advancement to the final four earlier this month.
“I was happy,” Douglas said of first learning he would be in the running for national honors. “I was jumping for joy. There was definite relief because I was able to get past my last downfall.”
“Since I’ve been teaching I have had several students win national proficiency awards and they were great projects,” Robles shared. “None however, were as good as what I think Logan’s project represents. He has worked for many years on his job, and he has earned more and more responsibility with his hard work and dedication.”
“It’s a big accomplishment,” Douglas acknowledged, “not just for me, but Oakdale and Oakdale FFA. We’ve always been known for our sports and now we’re really getting known in the Ag world thanks to the teachers. It’s really growing.”