Moffat County graduate demonstrates agriculture education excellence
CRAIG — Last month, Moffat County High School Class of 2017 graduate John T. Peroulis achieved a “gold standard” in agricultural education when he received a Future Farmers of America America FFA Degree, completing a process that began with an application during the spring.
“American FFA Degree recipients show promise for the future and have gone above and beyond to achieve excellence,” according to ffa.org.
Less than 1 percent of FFA members receive the honor.
To attain the degree, Peroulis was judged on classroom and laboratory time under teacher supervision, extracurricular and work-based learning, and supervised agricultural experiences.
Much of his work-based learning occurred through helping with the family ranching operation, where he demonstrated skill in cropping and sheep and cattle management.
After graduating high school, Peroulis went to the University of Wyoming, where he has been studying mechanical engineering. However, he is taking this year off to serve as an advocate for agricultural education.
Peroulis was elected to serve in state office in June, becoming a member of the executive committee of Colorado FFA. He will spend the next year traveling to represent Colorado agriculture.
It has been 10 years since Moffat County had a state officer, when Eric Wellman held the post in 2008, Peroulis said.
“It was a pretty important decision, personally,” he said. “… Colorado and Moffat County are home. I’m stepping out of the comfort zone of going to school for four years and then into a career to give back to the state and students.”
The duties of a state officer include being an advocate for agricultural education, helping plan parts of the Colorado State Fair, and traveling across the state and county to visit FFA chapters at each high school.
“I appreciate the people here and the association with Colorado FFA. There is no place like home,” Peroulis said.
He credits his success to the support and opportunities provided him by his parents, his teammates, and FFA advisors, particularly Ray Sanders.
“Mr. Sanders really opened the door for me. He had come from a state where FFA is predominate and nationally renowned in Georgia,” Peroulis said.
Sanders left the school district at the end of the 2018 school year and was the latest FFA advisor to depart the program.
“We’ve had seven different advisors in Moffat County in the past five or six years. The turnaround has been tough,” Peroulis said.
Despite the challenges, Moffat County’s vocational agriculture program has brought home many state and national awards, including Peroulis’ first-place individual finish at nationals in the agricultural mechanics division.
He said the experience was an “eye-opener” for him, explaining that, “to be a part of something bigger than myself was a big motivation to become a state officer.”
Peroulis thinks even bigger things are on the horizon for FFA in Moffat County, after the school district invested in the program by adding a third agricultural educator, whom he thinks will be a “game changer.”
During the next year, Peroulis will also work to draw attention to the important role of agricultural education.
“I want to make an impact for other students in new ways that haven’t been done before,” he said.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.
Moffat County CSU Extension Office is hosting the free “One Seed, One Community” program, which seeks to unite community by encouraging gardeners of all skill levels to plant, grow, cook, and share a featured vegetable every year.