The hands-on opportunities FFA affords its members were a selling point for Orestimba student Robert Shull when he arrived on campus as a freshman.
Now, four years later, Shull has accumulated a resume of FFA experiences which he believes will serve him well in the future.
Shull, the son of Steve and Denise Shull, was introduced to FFA through his older brother.
“He was into showing pigs, and I was hanging out with him and seeing what was going on,” he said of his introduction to the FFA program. “When I got here I started talking to all the ag teachers and learned a lot (about what FFA has to offer).”
His participation in a leadership conference as a freshman helped pique that interest, Shull said, and he became actively involved in FFA and the shop program at Orestimba.
Shop classes and fabrication projects are among his favorite activities.
“I’m more of a hands-on person. It is hard for me to sit down. I would rather be out working,” he explained.
Shull was part of a team which last year designed and built a barbecue trailer for the Newman Lions Club. This year, he and a fellow student built a bar for the recent crab feed.
“The barbecue was my first major project. Before that I was just learning how to weld,” he commented.
Shull shows goats as an FFA member, and this year plans on breeding goats.
“Raising goats was a whole new experience. They have their own personality, just like any animal,” he explained. “Learning all the terms was the hardest part for me.”
He also had the opportunity to attend the FFA National Convention in Indianapolis, followed by a trip to New York City before the Newman delegation returned to California.
Shull said he enjoyed meeting members from around the nation, and seeing the sights in Indianapolis and New York City.
Being around members from other parts of the nation underscored the regional differences in lifestyle and agriculture, Shull reported.
After high school, Shull said, he plans to join his father in the construction field.
The lessons learned and experiences offered through FFA helped prepare him for his future.
“FFA taught me a lot about work ethic and leadership. I am also more outgoing,” Shull reflected. “FFA has definitely been a good experience. It is a big factor in my life.”