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Future Farmers of America at Waipahu Intermediate

January 17, 2020
By: Alex Narrajos

Some serious innovation is being cultivated at Waipahu Intermediate School (WIS). Future Farmers of America (FFA) is a national youth organization that prepares members for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture. In Fall 2019, 8 students representing WIS placed in the 92nd National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. 3rd place recipient, Mariah Iris Ramo and Tracie Domingo, created a vertical garden hydroponics system which utilizes low-cost materials to grow more than 500 heads of lettuce in  24 square feet. Under the guidance of WIS’ FFA advisor, Ken Kozuma, Ramo has since brought the system to her hometown in Bacarra, a town in Ilocos Norte, Philippines and hopes to encourage youth to pursue agriculture technology through her public charity foundation Ag Innovators of Tomorrow.

The newest cohort of PDE3 educators were able to visit WIS in November and learn from Kozuma and meet some of the current FFA members. Kozuma, who previously completed the Garden Education & Compost PDE3 training, showed the group the school’s garden beds, chicken coop, and prototype of Ramo’s hydroponic system. Teachers were then able to plant seeds and learn a bit about how to implement programming into their classrooms. WIS is an awesome example of how to integrate ʻĀINA education into the classroom and we thank Kozuma for his dedication to agricultural literacy and education! If you would like to learn more about Ramo’s project, view the videos below:

Congratulations to all of the other teams that placed at the National FFA Convention!

Current 9th graders, who competed for Waipahu Intermediate FFA in their respective categories:

  • Sean Valencia and Mariah Quibol, National Champion
  • Mariah Ramo and Tracie Domingo, 3rd place
  • Nicholas Englar and Ken Tungpalan, 6th place
  • Jhanella Gerardo, 8th place

Current 10th graders, who competed for Waipahu High School FFA in their respective categories:

  • Vheena Sistoza and Darren Estal, 6th place
  • Hannah Apostol, 6th place