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Home | Tag Archives: coronado ffa

Tag Archives: coronado ffa

Video+Story: Coronado FFA Students Stay Busy ‘Down on the Farm’ Over Summer Break

School may be out for the summer, but learning and hard work never take a break at EPISD’s only FFA Farm.

Coronado High School Senior Jonathan Carrizal earlier this week took the wheel of the giant swather, cutting the alfalfa surrounding the 36-acre farm on Lindbergh Avenue. A few yards away, fellow T-Bird Chris Thatch, a sophomore, bathed his calf Magnus to get it prepped for competition.

The working farm gives students a chance to earn credit while learning about agriculture and develop skills for life. Teachers Armando Flores and Jennifer Matejcek spend their summer days on the farm – nurturing the livestock, crops and keeping up the grounds where calves, goats, a pig and chickens live. Students work and volunteer all summer working with the animals and preparing the hay for their livestock and public sale.

“The common misconception about that program is that you have to be a farmer or rancher to be involved in FFA,” said Flores, a lifelong farmer who lives on farm grounds. “That’s not quite the case. We’ve got lots of urbanized students participating with us. We emphasize creating great leaders and great public speakers that can go out into the workplace and be great employees for businesses out there.”

Carrizal stepped out of the swather after plotting perfect lines of trimmed hay.

“I’ve had a farm as long as I can remember. I know how to work and what to do,” he said. “I like the lifestyle. It’s a beautiful day.”

An experienced farmer, Carrizal puts his knowledge and rodeo skills to use to represent Coronado in competitions. This month, he earned fourth place in the Texas FFA Rodeo for team roping – a skill he’s been honing since age 4.

“It’s going to help me in the future,” he said. “It’s what I want to do, and it’ll help me get there.”

Thatch, on the other hand, came to the farm with no experience. He spent much of the morning blowing out the hair of his calf, which he plans to enter in the show steer category in competitions and take to market to sell. Like some students raising and competing with livestock, Thatch actually owns Magnus.

“I just live in a normal, small house in the city, so I would never have an opportunity to do any of this stuff without this place,” he said, while finishing up Magnus’ bath ritual. “You can make a lot of money if you win.”

Thatch isn’t sure the farm life is in his future but he knows the experience will give him a boost later in life.

“If I move into something like agriculture, owning steer or running a ranching or something, I’ll know how to handle these things,” he said. “And for college, they like to see that you stuck with something, so I’ll try to do this all four years of high school.”

The farm also just recently took in two baby goats, which Matejcek began training to walk and brace – key elements for competition later in the fall. They jumped and pulled on their leashes but the experienced rancher knew just how to rein them in.

“I wish more kids would understand the opportunity they have here and try it out,” she said, bracing a 3-month-old goat to show off the muscle definition in his legs and back.

Matejcek enjoys the show portion of FFA and the experience it gives students to learn about animal husbandry: how to work with the livestock, keep them healthy, groom them, raise them and build up their muscle for show and eventual sale. Like Flores, it’s a lifestyle she enjoys and wants to share with students.

“When we go to market, we sell to generate money for our program,” she said, describing how the livestock are great buys because the animals are well taken care of by students. “You’ll never have a bigger turkey than one you buy from a student.”

It also gives those students like Carrizal, who grew up on a farm, a chance to advance his skills so they can raise livestock on their own or get a jump start on a career as a veterinarian.

“There’s no other program like it in EPISD,” Flores said. “I venture to say that we probably have one of the most technologically advanced ag programs when it comes to equipment in Texas. We’re very fortunate that we’ve got a full-on production farm, and it’s in the middle of El Paso.”

And while the farm life is a big part of the agricultural program, Flores stressed the importance of the leadership curriculum taught in the classroom at Coronado, including parliamentary procedure and public speaking.

“Our students excel in that because we really try and knock it out of the park when it comes to public speaking,” Flores said. “When we can get our kids to be good public speakers and be able to get in front of a crowd, that’s going to make our programs shine above all others.”

Story by Reneé de Santos  |  Photos by Alicia Chumley  |  Video by Raymond Jackson / EPISD

Coronado FFA Students Take Top Prizes at State Fair

The Coronado High School FFA program continued its tradition of excellence at this year’s Southern New Mexico State Fair, earning top prizes in several categories.

“I am very proud of our students,” said Jenn Matejcek, agricultural science teacher. “They work very hard and long hours, growing and prepping their animals and other projects. We had a great year with many more animals to show.”

Students competed in categories ranging from livestock, baking to art.

Junior Tye Claridge earned Grand Champion in the poultry category, selling his entry for $4,500. Sophomore Christopher Thatch took third place for his steer, earning $3,800.

The T-Birds also took home Grand Champion for their agricultural mechanics small and large project entry.

Below is the full list of participants and fair results:

Poultry:

Tye Claridge: Grand Champion Sold $4,500

Alejandro Navarette: 3rd Place

Yoseph Hernandez: 6th Place

Lauren Holderman

Christopher Thatch

 

Rabbits:

Rebecca Brandmeyer

Goats:

Shaye Alost: 6th Place

Lauren Holderman: 7th Place

Reed Jenson: 8th Place

 

Steer:

Christopher Thatch: 3rd Place Sold $3,800

Arts and Crafts:

Amani Hernandez: 1st Place

Maria Boccaccio-Mantecon: 1st Place and 2nd Best of Show $20

Nicole Gonzales: 1st and 2nd Place

 

Agriculture/Floriculture:

Mauricio Valdez: 1st okra, 1st elephant ear, 2nd white strawberry, 3rd avocado, 4th avocado

Agricultural Mechanics:

Grand Champion for Small and Large Project

Reserve Grand Champion for Small and Large Project

Alejandro Navarrete

Yoseph Hernandez

Alex Pustinger

Reed Jenson

Tye Claridge

Jeremy Aguirre

Erin Rocha

Michael Blackmon

Able Griswold

 

Baked Goods:

Francesca Cattuci: Pecan Brittle 2nd place

Lauren Holderman: Brownies 2nd place

Diana Aguilar: Banana Pecan Bread 1st Place

Reed Jenson: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins 1st Place

Carlos Granados: Candied Pecans 1st Place

Jonathan Carrizal: Pecan Praline 1st Place, Pecan Pie 2nd Place

Gina Saenz: Pecan Bars 2nd Place, Apple Pie Cupcakes 1st Place

Alejandro Navarrete: Limes 1st Place, Hay 2nd Best of Show $15

 

Chapter Booth:

3rd Best of show

Shannon Watzling

Katherine Goodrich

Aime Muela

Victoria Enriquez

Jade Vera

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