The Oakdale Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By TERESA HAMMOND tham­mond@oak­dale­leader.com

The third time has proved to in­deed be the charm as Oak­dale FFA once again se­cured the Stanis­laus County Fair Thur­man Award for the third con­sec­u­tive year in a row. Earn­ing ad­di­tional brag­ging rights, the team also brought home the over­all win­ner’s tro­phy for Live­stock and Ag Me­chan­ics.

Once dom­i­nated by Hugh­son and Tur­lock, earn­ing the Thur­man for the third year was both a sur­prise as well as con­fir­ma­tion of strong team ef­forts for the Oak­dale High Ag teach­ing team.

“I grew up in the area,” Depart­ment Head and FFA Leader Isaac Robles said of his long­time ties to ag and FFA, “so I al­ways knew too, you don’t win that (the Thur­man). It’s Tur­lock or Hugh­son. It’s a big ac­com­plish­ment.”

Ac­cord­ing to Robles, the growth of Oak­dale FFA saw mem­ber­ship dou­bled from its pre­vi­ous year, a fact which he at­tributes to stu­dents re­turn­ing to the roots of Oak­dale, as well as the ad­di­tion of the Oak­dale School Farm.

“Our num­ber def­i­nitely dou­bled in terms of par­tic­i­pa­tion,” he said. “The dou­bled num­bers lit­er­ally came out of the farm.”

Com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion to the craft, also plays a fac­tor as the FFA Leader shared a co­or­di­na­tion of the staff to help man­age a group of its size, as well as man­age the 21-plus days of fair time over the sum­mer.

“The four of us did a much bet­ter job than all the years I’ve been here,” he said of the FFA staff.

Robles shared, “We had a clean sweep in Clean Barn. We won Clean Barn in the four big di­vi­sions (beef, sheep, swine and goats).”

That’s an ac­com­plish­ment which the leader takes great pride in. Robles ac­knowl­edged the rep­u­ta­tion of “Oak­dale” as stu­dents travel to com­pete in other ar­eas. That be­ing ac­knowl­edged, he en­cour­aged the stu­dents to show their work ethic, which would speak vol­umes.

“We re­ally put a big em­pha­sis in those things,” he said. “Clean barn is where we’re go­ing to show peo­ple how hard we work.”

As the team looks ahead to the com­ing school year, which will lead to yet an­other fair year, Robles shared keep­ing the team mo­ti­vated as the fo­cus, not al­low­ing the stu­dents to rest on lau­rels or get seden­tary be­cause of past achieve­ments, the 2019 ef­fort should come in with equal amounts of grit and de­ter­mi­na­tion.


Oak­dale High School FFA earned the John Thur­man Award for the third con­sec­u­tive year at the Stanis­laus County Fair. In ad­di­tion to the pres­ti­gious tro­phy, FFA mem­bers also brought home trophies for Live­stock and Ag Me­chan­ics.

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