Oakdale High School Future Farmers of America organization doesn’t seem to be letting up in the excellence department, and doesn’t plan to, at least not any time soon. The OHS FFA team was once again named the recipient of the John Thurman Award at the 2017 Stanislaus County Fair.
It is an acknowledgement, which Ag Department Head Isaac Robles is pleased with, yet not shocked by.
“The program is doing exactly what we set out to do three or four years ago,” Robles said of the FFA program. “It’s moving in that direction very quickly.”
The department head shared he was encouraged by a more recent change in the judging system, which weighs quality of work over quantity of participants.
“We have a lot of kids doing things, but they do them very well,” he said.
Robles estimates this year the team had over 50 livestock showmen and over 200 students once horticulture and ag mechanics is factored in.
“We now have a different mindset from the students,” he shared. “The expectation is like that of athletics, we expect the best and the kids know that. They expect to give their best. They want to see us do the same as teachers/instructors.”
The move toward excellence has helped change the attitude, he added.
“It’s not just being good for the sake of being good,” Robles continued. “They’re seeing there’s a pathway to it and I think they’re excited about it.”
The addition of the Oakdale School Farm is an equal factor contributing to the student and staff excitement, Robles shared. So much so that the OHS Ag team members believe there is potential to double fair participation for the coming year.
“Just more,” Robles said of livestock and exhibitor participation in the future. “We have the capacity to double what we did this year.”