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Newman FFA member Diego Garcia has successfully competed in a variety of FFA events.

NEWMAN - Diego Garcia’s interest in FFA dated back to his junior high years - and when he reached Orestimba he wasted no time in becoming involved in the organization.

“I have always had an interest in ag,” said Garcia, who is now a senior. “I realized that there are extensive opportunities through FFA. I was always fascinated by that.”

Garcia, in striving to make the most of those opportunities, has competed in FFA events at the section, region and state level.

His success started as a freshman, when Garcia was part of the state champion Best Informed Greenhand team and he placed seventh overall as an individual.

As a sophomore, Garcia won the Tri Rivers Section impromptu speaking contest and was a Central Region semi-finalist.

A year later, competing in extemporaneous speaking, Garcia was fourth at the section level and was a region semi-finalists.

Garcia recently won this year’s extemporaneous speaking contest at the section level to once again advance.

But speaking contests are far from Garcia’s only FFA endeavors.

As a junior Garcia raised a market lamb - and while he was unable to show the animal, the experience was memorable nonetheless.

“That was an incredible experience,” he stated.

The camaraderie among the livestock group was one of the rewards of having a project, Garcia explained.

“We just supported one another at the (school) farm,” he reflected. “The sense of community you get from working with each other and helping each other really brings you together. It is something I am very grateful for. It led to a lot of friendships.”

Garcia has been involved in parliamentary procedure/debate and livestock judging, was selected for the state FFA honors band as a freshman and has attended the National FFA Convention, which brought together members from across the country.

At the convention, Garcia said, he learned much about varying agriculture practices from region to region and met members from a variety of backgrounds.

“There is a lot of value in knowing the diversity within the organization and embracing it,” he remarked.

Garcia is chapter sentinel this year. He said the theme, “Embrace the Change,” has been particularly fitting as FFA members seek to embrace and overcome challenges stemming from the pandemic.

Garcia, the son of Mere Olivas and Salvador Garcia, has been active in numerous organizations at Orestimba.

His involvement in FFA has helped shape the personal growth of the past four years.

“You really learn about yourself and what your values are in life,” he stated.

His experiences have helped shape his career goals.

Garcia plans to major in communications and either history or political science, while minoring in Spanish, while attending San Diego State as an honor student, UC Berkeley or UC Santa Barbara.

He wants to ultimately return as an educator and administrator.

“I attribute a lot of my reasons for wanting to come back and serve to the fact that my teachers were always encouraging,” Garcia shared. “I want to be an advocate for them the way that all the schools in our district have been for us.”