Tristan Haile Receives 2016 DEKALB Agricultural Accomplishment Award

Tristan Haile

Submitted by Denair High School

Tristan Haile, of Denair High School, in Denair, California, was recently selected to be presented the school’s highest agricultural honor, the DEKALB Agricultural Accomplishment Award, sponsored by Monsanto.

Haile, the Daughter of Randy and Debbie, received the award for excellence in academics, leadership and agricultural work experience. Haile’s significant experiences and accomplishments have included raising market and breeding hogs for the Stanislaus County Fair, owning, breeding, showing and selling lambs from her own flock of Suffolk Hampshire Cross Sheep, holding a Chapter FFA officer position for two years, actively participating on FFA leadership committees and receiving her California FFA State Degree.

This year the DEKALB Agricultural Accomplishment Award celebrates its 69th anniversary. Over these 69 years more than 168,000 high school seniors from across the country have received the award, which has become a symbol for excellence and the school’s highest agricultural honor.

As the winner of the 2016 award, Tristan Haile’s name will be recorded on a permanent plaque and displayed at Denair High School.

Monsanto, a long-time supporter of agricultural education, FFA, 4-H and other farm youth organizations and initiatives, sponsors the DEKALB Agricultural Accomplishment Award. Monsanto is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality.

Congratulations to Tristan Haile for her role in the agricultural field, leadership and representing the qualities that are a symbol for excellence in agriculture.

New DHS Ag Teachers to Grow Program From Ground Up

Madison Weigel and Matthew Marshall

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

As Denair High School students and teachers anticipate classes resuming next week, nowhere is the excitement greater or expectations higher than in the ag department. Two new instructors have joined the staff, bringing with them energy and optimism that they can create the kind of program that will be a magnet for the brightest teens in and out of the district.

Though school doesn’t begin until Aug. 12, Matthew Marshall and Madison Weigel spent much of July getting to know their students, organizing lesson plans and strategizing about course offerings. The Stanislaus County Fair from July 10-19 gave them a perfect chance to interact with Denair’s FFA students who were showing animals and a three-day FFA leadership retreat last week in San Luis Obispo was another opportune time to bond.

Now, Marshall and Weigel are ready to go.

“The community is itching for an ag program that will benefit students and keep them here in Denair,” said Marshall, whose emphasis will be on ag mechanics, landscape management and ag science.

“We want to teach them ag, but we also want to teach them life skills that they can apply to any career,” explained Weigel, whose focus will be on ag and earth science, ag biology, ag leadership, floral design and horticulture. She also will teach a physical science class at Denair Middle School.

Marshall and Weigel understand the importance of a quality ag program at a rural school like Denair. At similar-sized high schools like Hughson, Hilmar, Waterford or Orestimba, ag classes are popular draws for all students.

Not every student lives on a farm or aspires to a career in agribusiness, but most have a basic appreciation of the value of the nearby orchards, dairies and fields that are a part of everyday life. Many have family members somehow involved in ag or related businesses.

“A strong agricultural program will deliver a high-quality, comprehensive curriculum and hands-on training and practice in our school in order to ensure our students are a valuable source of employable, trained and skilled individuals,” said first-year Principal Alecia Myers. “The importance of this program is immeasurable, as it truly is the pride and success of many of our students and their families.” Continue reading “New DHS Ag Teachers to Grow Program From Ground Up” »

Rick Diaz Takes Helm of Ag Mechanics Classes at DHS

Rick Diaz

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Mr. Rick Diaz is Denair High School’s new Ag teacher. He teaches Small Engines, Introductory and Advanced Ag Mechanics, Landscape and Farm Management, and Ag Earth Science.

Mr. Diaz graduated from Fresno State University with a degree in Ag Business and a minor in Plant Science. He was raised on a vineyard in Fresno and has repaired farm machinery since he was a boy.

For the past four years, Mr. Diaz has taught shop classes and has been a Welding Instructor at Fresno City College.

Mr. Diaz enjoys watching his students grow in their knowledge and skills and arrive at a higher level of confidence. He would like to see the Denair High School Ag program grow into a three-teacher team where there is an expert in plant science, animal science, and Ag mechanics. He is considering his students’ requests to coach an Ag Mechanics team.

In addition to teaching, for the past 20 years, Mr. Diaz has been a wrestling official and a part time charter bus driver.

DHS Ag Students Honored by Turlock Chamber


Bill Douglas – Ag Advisor, Sean Andersen, Holley McDiffett,
Katelynn Lawson, Summer Tannehill – Ag Advisor

On Monday, March 10, 2014, three Denair High School students and their advisors were invited to attend the Turlock Chamber of Commerce 14th Annual Ag Scholarship luncheon. The purpose of the luncheon was to acknowledge the achievements and efforts of local high school senior agriculture students. From Denair High School, Katelynn Lawson received a $1500.00 scholarship.  She plans to attend CSU Stanislaus or CSU Fresno.  Sean Andersen received a $750 scholarship.  He plans on attending CSU Fresno, where his father and sister also attended.  He plans on majoring in Crop Science and getting his PCA license.  Holley McDiffett received a $750 scholarship.  Parents of the three Denair students were able to attend the luncheon.  The students thanked the community, the chamber, and family for their support.