KING CITY — On the east end of the King City High School campus, the new agricultural building has officially opened.
The 24,000-square-foot Career Technical Education (CTE) facility was honored by advisers, alumni, teachers, friends and family on Feb. 8.
King City High School FFA ranked third last year, and this year the school’s program is ranked seventh in the state. The state-of-the-art facility consists of five classrooms and shop areas for floral, wood, mechanics and welding/fabrication instruction.
All of these developments were made possible because of a bond measure that was passed by the community, along with a $1.5 million CTE facilities grant awarded, which was used to build this new agricultural building.
Construction started during the Covid-19 pandemic, and last Tuesday the ribbon was finally cut, marking a new beginning for King City’s FFA program. With this new building, the possibilities for students are endless.
Not only was Feb. 8 a special day for the opening of the building, it was also a special day for Debbie Benson, a former ag teacher and the matriarch of King City High School FFA.
“Last year, in the virtual world, Mrs. Debbie Benson was inducted into the California Agriculture Teachers Hall of Fame,” said FFA adviser Jessica Souza.
On this day handled by Souza and fellow FFA adviser Lauren Peterson, Benson received her Hall of Fame plaque along with a plaque for her years of service to the FFA Adult Board of Directors.
“Debbie Benson was a driving force and visionary to set the stage for this moment,” Souza said. “Debbie not only had an impact on our department, but also throughout our region and state.”
According to FFA adviser Patrick Smith, the objective of the ag teachers’ instruction is to “present students with every career opportunity available and then prepare them for that journey that is life after high school.”
“That journey may begin at a community college, a university, trade school or it may begin with the start of a new career in the workforce,” Smith said. “Whichever journey it may be, agriculture educators believe it is their duty to prepare all students.”
The FFA teachers thanked the district’s Chief Business Official Sherrie Castellanos for allowing them to have full control of the decisions that were made toward the new agricultural building and for allowing them to create the design of the facility to the color of the furniture.
FFA teacher Blaise Chaney said the purpose of the new ag facility is to “provide up-to-date classrooms, labs and shops for our students… (the old) facility does not provide a classroom for each teacher, shops are in need of infrastructure repair, and more space is needed to provide a safe working environment for classes, which were once held for only 20 students. Times have changed and our facility is also.”
“Ultimately, the new facility will provide students with more learning opportunities in a modern educational setting,” Chaney added.
The hope of this new industry is to provide students with a modern training facility to prepare students for college, post-high school training and the workforce.
“On behalf of the agriculture teachers and students of King City High School, we thank our Principal Mike Gray for his unlimited support in all agriculture department endeavors,” Smith said. “We thank our advisory board for offering us direction and up-to-date educational needs of the local industry. They played a vital role in this building by offering valuable input through many meetings, including helping us decide the location and overall function as a true agriculture industry facility.”
Smith added that the teachers and students are looking forward to the development of the new school farm, which will begin with a greenhouse donated by Chris Harless of Quiedan Company.
The FFA teachers also thanked the many active members of the local agriculture community who over the past 40 years have been leading supporters and volunteers of the program.
“To the most significant relationship of our agriculture department, we thank the King City Young Farmers for years of community collaboration and monetary support,” Smith said. “Thank you for believing in our mission.”
The community support for King City FFA cannot be described in words, but the agricultural building that now stands strong and proudly on campus isn’t just another building for FFA students. It’s a symbol that represents the strength of the community.
“Most importantly, we thank the community for extending a bond and voting in favor of our agriculture program,” Smith concluded. “You have given our students inspiration and opportunity with your gift of this incredible building, for this we thank all of you. You are changing the lives of students and our community forever.”
King City High School students Tyler Doan and Deztenee Sanchez are the Editor in Chief and Copy Editor, respectively, of The Mustang Legacy.