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4 Ripon High FFA members earn scholarships
Ripon Ag awards DSC 6521
Ag awards presented to Ripon FFA members totaled $3,000 Saturday night at the Ripon Livestock Boosters Barbecue at the Ripon Community Center before a packed house. Scholarships winners are from left, include Kayla Keating, $1,000; Cara Hoekstra, $1,000 and Rian Koetsier, $500. Riley Gillihan, $500, was not able to be present at the dinner. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Four Ripon FFA standouts received college scholarships Saturday night in recognition of their accomplishments in the ag community before a packed house at the Ripon Livestock Boosters 42nd Annual Appreciation Barbecue held at the Ripon Community Center.
Two $1,000 scholarships were presented to Kayla Keating and Cara Hoekstra. Two $500 scholarships went to Riley Gillihan and Rian Koetsier. 
Kayla has been an active member of the Ripon FFA Chapter, High School Rodeo, JROTC and Girls League.  In Future Farmers of America, she learned the art of welding, fabrication as well as advanced fabrication.  Her projects have included market and beef breeding.  Last year she received her State Degree from the FFA organization.
Kayla has represented the Ripon FFA at the state and national levels with Parliamentary Procedure, Meats Judging, Opening and Closing, Impromptu Speaking and Job Interview Teams.  In her spare time she has been active in her community as a member of 4-H, volunteering at the Escalon Animal Shelter and at Ag Ventures.
She has also been involved with Rina’s Run and describes herself as a hardworking, dedicated and compassionate young entrepreneur who strives to be the best in everything she does and is dedicated to her interests across the board. 
Cara Hoekstra won the second $1,000 scholarship and will be attending Baylor University in the fall to study in their University Scholar Program and their Honors Program. Cara plans to major in the university’s Political Science involving History and Economics, eventually planning to attend law school in the study of Ag Law. 
She hopes to come back to the Valley and work as a water resource lawyer and run for public office to become an advocate for area farmers on the local, state and possibly the national level.
Rian Koetsier was the winner of a $500 scholarship and will be attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall majoring in Ag Systems Management.  During his teen years he has been involved in soccer and golf, having been varsity captain in both sports.  Rian was also involved in the FFA chapter, earning his Greenhand and Chapter degrees as well as being a part of the leadership team.
Riley Gillihan won the second $500 scholarship Saturday night.  She has been actively involved in the Ripon FFA Chapter and has been a part of many leadership conferences, and chaired numerous committees.  Riley has held leadership roles on the Chapter and the Sectional levels.  Her project was focused on the raising, showing and selling of market and breeding beef cattle.
She is planning to attend MJC with the hope of transferring to UC Davis in her junior year where she wishes to major in Animal Science.  Veterinary Medicine is another interest of hers and she knows that her heart will always be in the agricultural industry with a goal to obtain successes she will enjoy throughout her life.
A slide show demonstrated the accomplishments of the recent 2017 San Joaquin County Ag Fest Results sponsored by the Ripon Livestock Boosters with pictures of the students and their animals.  There were some two dozen categories in which Ripon teens participated and recognized the pride of their work with the animals they had been raising.
Many of the FFA members were awarded sought after belt buckles for their achievements during the year in their many ag programs.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email