Oakdale High School alum and FFA member Logan Douglas has left his mark.
The 20-year-old recently traveled to Louisville, Kentucky where he was one of four National FFA Proficiency finalists. A journey, which came by way of winning at both the regional and state level of the Wildlife Production and Management – Entrepreneurship/Placement Proficiency.
National Winner can now be added to that list of titles as Douglas was named National Winner recently in Louisville.
“It was an awesome experience,” Douglas said of the trip and hearing his name announced as ‘winner.’
According to the National FFA Organization press release, “Proficiency awards recognize FFA members who excelled as agricultural entrepreneurs, employees or volunteers while they gained hands-on career experience. Wildlife Production and Management – Entrepreneurship/Placement is one of 49 FFA proficiency award categories offered at local, state and national levels.”
Prior to the announcement, the OHS alum along with his three competitors gave a two-minute speech about their application to a panel of seven judges. This was followed by interviews, pertinent to the finalists’ subject matter.
The other finalists were from Montana, Wisconsin and Kentucky.
Douglas began employment with Oakdale based business FISHBIO his sophomore year in high school. He began with the company by cleaning and maintaining equipment. He’s currently employed as a Fisheries Technician, collecting data for the company biologists from the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Calaveras rivers, while attending Modesto Junior College.
“The award Logan won is not only for him, but our community,” OHS Agriculture teacher Isaac Robles shared. “California FFA this year only had 13 or 14 national finalists for proficiency awards and only two won in their areas. One of those being Logan.”
Douglas acknowledged the generalization of his competitors as they each awaited their turn at the panel interview. He noted spotting one shooting a text to his advisor stating, ‘Fishboy is fake.’
That was an opinion that fueled the ‘Fishboy’ to truly bring his ‘A game’ when faced by the panel. During the interview process the finalists have no information or notes, while each judge has a copy of their application. Questions are posed from what is front of them. Each judge asks one question and the finalist must reply. Total time for the interview portion is 15 minutes. Douglas was only able to respond to six questions before running out of time.
That was a fact he felt for certain would work against him, but turned out much to the contrary as he learned when named the winner the next day in front of a convention center full of FFA members, instructors and families.
“It was definitely breathtaking,” Douglas shared of the moment on stage flanked by his father Bill Douglas and teacher Isaac Robles.
“Oakdale FFA was there and they started cheering and there were about three rows of California FFA and they just went nuts. It was very surreal,” he said.
“The outstanding accomplishment of winning a proficiency award is really not only a one-year thing,” Robles stated. “It takes students several years to accumulate the experience and accomplishments in the proficiency area to even qualify for an award like that.”
“Hard work and dedication can get you to where you want,” the National winner added. “This wasn’t just for me. This was for our community and to prove California is still an Agriculture state.”
Douglas is now re-exploring his career path. He shared he will continue to work at FISHBIO and is grateful for the support they have given throughout this process. He is currently considering a future career as an Agriculture Teacher or Biologist.