Garces Memorial High freshman Kate Wegis did not win the egg toss event with her friend and fellow freshman Gabby Martin, but she was excited to be a part of the school’s Local Love Day during lunch on Tuesday.
It’s the beginning of Garces’ events for Future of Farmers of America Week.
Wegis enjoys being a part of the festivities, including Local Love Day, which features agriculture-based companies in the community. Wegis is familiar with many of them. Her life has been much about farming. Her family is part of Wegis and Young Property Management, a family-owned fourth-generation farm management company.
“I like how (Local Love Day) really brings the school together and makes everyone feel like they’re part of the FFA,” Wegis said. “It’s good for the community and the school.”
Wegis is one of 80 students in Garces’ FFA program, roughly 16 percent of the school’s enrollment, said Ashleigh Rossi, a teacher in Garces’ agriculture education program.
Garces’ FFA members are doing their best to make this week fun. They moved up their events to this week, as FFA Week is next week. But that coincides with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, so Rossi and others are conducting events this week.
Students will be given seed packets of vegetables and flowers on Wednesday, when live animals will be on campus.
On Thursday, students can have their pets blessed.
Friday’s finale features Giddy Up Garces, when students don their best Western wear. The students also raise money to have a select group of teachers who will kiss a pig. The money raised goes to a charity or scholarship in the name of Garces’ FFA, Rossi said.
This is the fifth year Garces is putting on FFA Week events, she said, adding the students enjoy dressing up along with each selected theme during the week.
Many students wore pink and dressed in the theme of Valentine’s Day/love. They showed their love to local businesses such as Rio Bravo Ranch, Anthony Vineyards, AYO Yogurt, Wonderful Pistachios and Bolthouse Farms. Some of the companies have a connection with Garces, as some have alumni employed or teens attending the school.
“A lot of people don’t know that these companies are here in Bakersfield,” said Rossi, who worked alongside her students setting up games and booths on Tuesday. “Our program is fruitful and rewarding.”
Tessa Ludwig, a Garces senior, helped out at the Rio Bravo Ranch booth, where she passed out samples of oil and students could dip bread into cups. Ludwig is also the reporter for Garces’ FFA program. She posts new content on the program’s social media handles and she also interviews others for special stories.
“It’s nice to see the opportunities there are in the ag field,” she said of Tuesday’s lunchtime activities. “It’s nice to see that I can start something like this.”