Years of work with a week of success

Kyler Vernon, Writer ; Photographer

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The 90th California FFA Leadership Conference was held last month in the Anaheim Convention Center across the street from Disneyland. Each year the conference takes place to recognize the state winners in several areas as well as elect the new state FFA officer team.

Kyler Vernon from Nipomo High School was named the 2018-2019 California FFA State Vice President.

The state FFA officer election process is one of the most grueling activities in the organization, especially in the California association. On Saturday morning the 35 candidates who made it past the first round of testing, prepare to be interviewed. Over three days, the candidates get locked in a holding room awaiting their fate.

From 7:00 in the morning to 11:30 at night, the candidates are put through a rigorous series of tasks ranging from five minute speeches to harsh emotional and character interviews by the panel of 12.

Each night several unlucky ones are removed from the eligible group of candidates. The 12 remaining ones had to answer several questions in front of the entire 7,500 person conference.

Nipomo FFA was lucky to have one candidate in the hunt. Vernon was elected to serve as vice president for the 89,000 fellow members of California FFA. He will spend the year after he graduates traveling the state and working hard for the association.

Vernon also won the Sheep Production Proficiency Award that focuses on student management practices for the production of market sheep. He also placed first in the state in the job interview contest.

Junior Kayla Zalesny from Nipomo High School was named the Environmental Science
and Natural Resources Management Proficiency Award winner. For the past year she
has had an internship at the Lopez Water Treatment Plant where she has been able to
learn about the water industry. Zalesny also won the state in the Star Reporter contest
where she was recognized in her achievements of informing the community about
Nipomo FFA throughout the year utilizing print media, radio, television, and social media
Outlets. The Star Reporter award is one of great significance as there are over 600 reporters who apply and only a very small few make it to live interviews.

Later in May, the Dairy Products team (Kayla Zalesny, Danika Flores, Ashlie Andrade, and Julia Boersma) also won the state championship and will be moving on to Indianapolis.

This has truly been a record year for Nipomo FFA.