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FFA membership grows at two Ceres high schools
• Membership at all-time high
Central Valley FFA pose
Central Valley FFA held its Welcome Back BBQ on Aug. 31, buoyed by the increased membership. Adviser Clarissa Farinelli is at left.

In light of this year’s national high percentage rate of FFA members, chapters within Ceres have also witnessed their own growth in membership this year. 

Over 669 members signed up this year to join the Central High FFA chapter, with more to be counted, as there are still students signing up and being entered into the database as of last week. As it currently stands, there are nearly 77 more than last year’s membership of 592.

While Ceres High saw a growth in memberships as well, their total being nearly 100 more than last year and though yet to be officially counted, is estimated to be as high as 320 this year alone.

“We do have anywhere from 20 to 50 kids who participate in the state leadership conferences, career development events, but the majority of our kids do just the local chapter school stuff,” said Central High FFA Chapter Director Clarissa Farinelli.

Newly participating members at Central Valley High can expect monthly meetings, supporting their chapter attending the national convention in Indiana, social events, and the annual fall festival which brings in several elementary school communities to learn about how FFA is implemented within the classroom.

“I would say though that our outside of school stuff isn’t so popular among members like some of our leadership conferences,” noted Farinelli. “We take 20 to 30 kids but when you look at the 670ish members that’s not a large majority.”

Chapter meeting attendance within Central High also at an all-time high, as it is the most attended type of event of the chapter.

Members at Ceres High currently have the option of working concessions during school football games, attending chapter meetings, participating in local and regional conferences, showing livestock at fairs and more.

“We went to the 2019 national convention right before the pandemic struck, back in Indianapolis, but that was our last national convention that we had attended,” said Ceres High’s Assistant FFA Chapter Director Brian Mortensen. “With COVID a lot of travel was halted and the conference went virtual.”

Similarly, both schools experience fewer members participating within FFA curriculum that takes place outside of school, such as competitions at state conventions, career fairs, and showing animals at the Stanislaus County Fair. 

Though the schools are considered rivals the hardworking mentality and comradery that is instilled within the core ideals of FFA remains the same within both schools.

“We’re one of the largest youth leadership organizations in the United States and we have opportunities for every single student to take advantage of,” said Mortensen.

“FFA has lots of different opportunities … whether you are going to be a leadership speaker type kid or somebody that just wants to learn skills to get a good job,” said Farinelli.