NEWMAN - Victoria Lopez’s introduction to the shop courses and FFA program at Orestimba High has led to a new passion and career path.
The sophomore found herself right at home in the shop courses - particularly when it comes to welding, which has sparked a career interest.
Lopez, the daughter of Victor and Maira Lopez, has her sights set on higher education in welding the the goal of eventually becoming an underwater welder.
While the experiences have been entirely new to her, Lopez shared, she quickly developed a passion for welding.
“I love it. It is completely a passion for me,” Lopez said of welding. “I ended up loving it so much.”
She typically works as a team on projects, including the recent fabrication of pub tables for a crab feed which benefited the local FFA chapter.
Lopez said she enjoys the process, the results and the sense of accomplishment which follows.
“It is just a feeling of creating something,” she stated. “Once you finish a project it is like, ‘I did this’.”
This year she is also on the FFA welding team to further that interest.
Lopez became interested in FFA as a freshman and took ag mechanics as her introduction.
“That increased my interest a lot,” she related. “As a freshman I took ag science as well.”
She learned about various types of livestock, Lopez said.
“I found that interesting, but not enough to raise (an animal) myself,” said Lopez adding that she will focus on other FFA endeavors.
This year Lopez is on the chapter’s novice parliamentary procedure team and competed in extemporaneous speaking.
“You get a random topic having to do with agriculture and have to speak about it right off the bat,” she said of the speaking competition. “I really enjoyed it.”
She previously was not as comfortable with public speaking, Lopez shared, but her extemporaneous speech experience gave her renewed confidence.
“It was a big step for me. I don’t find (public speaking) as difficult any more,” she explained.
Lopez plans to continue her FFA involvement and hopes to attend national convention.
Her experiences in FFA have been enriching.
“FFA in general gives you a lot of leadership skills,” she commented. “Even if you join teams and just test it out for a season it gives you skills you didn’t have before.”