At the Lorain County Fair last August, Firelands Future Farmers of America advisor Shanna Finnegan recruited Pablo Barranco.
He hails from Seville, Spain, and was hosted by Chad and Amy Grude of Wakeman. Upon his arrival here, he immersed himself in American culture and schooling, where he maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA and was involved in Falcons cross country, track, and FFA.
In the FFA, Barranco accomplished more in one year than many will accomplish in their four years in the program, Finnegan said: He won an FFA jacket for being the first of his classmates to memorize the FFA Creed — not in his native Castilian Spanish but in Puerto Rican Spanish and in English as well. He competed at the county public speaking contest, where he won overall and moved on to the sub-district speaking contest at Plymouth High School. Wins there and at district competition qualified Barranco for the Ohio FFA contest in Marysville, where he wowed judges with his impressive speaking and knowledge of the creed, earning fifth in the state.
In October, Barranco attended the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky. During the school year he logged more than 200 hours in FFA activities such as leadership activities, community service, and fundraising. At the State FFA Convention in April, he helped pack meals at Ohio FFA Fights Hunger and he crossed the stage at the convention to accept recognition on behalf of the chapter.
He also forged a strong relationship with Matthew Klopfenstein, the former Ohio FFA president. Klopfenstein invited Barranco on stage in front of nearly 10,000 people to help deliver his retiring address.
Barranco has left a lasting impression on the FFA chapter, Finnegan said, and his work, leadership, cooperation, and lessons in diversity will benefit the chapter for years to come.
He returns to Spain this month for his senior year but plans to return to attend college in the United States in 2017.
Courtesy photo Pablo Barranco has had an amazing year at the Firelands Schools and plans to return to Spain this month.