College of Agriculture

Chico State Represented at National FFA Convention

Announced on: Monday, Dec. 03, 2018

On Oct. 24–27, 12 Chico State students travelled to Indianapolis, Indiana, to participate in the 91st National FFA Convention. The event is the largest youth organization gathering in the country, which invited a record number of 69,944 attendees.

The event also highlighted Chico State sophomore Breanna Holbert’s honorary retirement as president of the National FFA Organization. One year after her monumental election as the first female African American National FFA President, Holbert’s retiring address reflected on her year of service. Holbert spent the past year traveling countless miles across the country and abroad, speaking at state conventions, running delegate operations, and serving as the voice for the 670,000-member organization. 

Chico State sophomore Taylor Richardson recognizes the impact Holbert has made on those around her at Chico State while in her leadership position.

“I was captivated by her speaking ability and grace throughout her retiring address. I have seen both Bre's state officer retiring address as well as her national officer retiring address, and she has never failed to touch my heart and change my perspective. Chico State is extremely lucky to have such an amazing person like Bre as one of our students,” Richardson said.

During the convention, 10 Chico State students received their American FFA Degrees—which are only awarded to the top 1 percent of members nationwide. The recipients included Damian Arceo, Prentyce Hytt, Joel Mendoza, Taylor Richardson, Samantha Bright, Samantha Guidotti, Madison McCarty, Matthew Bongiovanni, and Jacob Lewis. The American FFA Degree is the organization’s highest honor, recognizing members who excel in community service and agricultural involvement through supervised agricultural experiences.

Students weren’t the only ones who received recognition at the 91st Annual National FFA Convention. Retired Professor Brad Dodson was one of 19 individuals from around the nation whose significant contributions to FFA and agricultural education were recognized with the VIP Citation during the Fourth General Session.

Freshman agriculture business majors Taylor Gallaty and Mira Reginato also attended the convention, where they competed on the West Valley High School Nursery/Landscape career development event (CDE) team. They placed sixth in the nation, and Gallaty earned tenth place in the individual competition—accomplishing a goal she had worked toward all four years of high school. While Gallaty competed on the Nursery/Landscape team all four years, Reginato didn’t join until February of her senior year. At only her fourth competition, the state finals in San Luis Obispo, the team became state champions.

“Being a part of a team means that you have to make sacrifices and be selfless, but through my experiences I learned a lot, and it wasn't always easy,” Reginato said. “After placing first with my team in California, I had no idea what to expect in preparation for the National Convention, but we put the time in and I traveled home at least once a week.”

A shared sense of commitment and sacrifice contributed to the team’s success, Gallaty agreed.

“It definitely made the transition to college life a bit more challenging, such as having to prioritize practice time over socializing on several occasions,” Gallaty explained. “However, if it weren't for the experience that I gained by getting to see all of the hard work truly pay off in the end, I can say without a doubt that I would be in a very different place right now, and I am thankful for the opportunity I had.”