Moffat County student wins FFA State Star, will compete for American Star in 2018 |

Moffat County student wins FFA State Star, will compete for American Star in 2018

The 2017 Colorado FFA State Star winner in Agricultural Placement is Moffat County's own John T. Peroulis.
Sasha Nelson

There’s a new state champion in Moffat County.

For the first time in the history of the high school Future Farmers of America program, a student has earned the highest state achievement — the State Star Award.

John T. Peroulis was one of only three students to receive a state star award during the annual Colorado FFA conference June 14 to 16 in Pueblo. He now has the opportunity to compete for an American Star Award at the FFA National Convention in 2018.

“It’s really humbling and groundbreaking at the same time. It’s a real milestone in my life and in our community of Moffat County,” Peroulis said about the award. “I’d like to thank the other people that have been a part of my life individually and the community… they deserve a lot of credit too.”

During high school Peroulis logged more than 7,000 hours working on the family sheep ranch.

“Work usually starts off early in the mornings and it usually goes throughout the majority of the day. It’s a lot of hours out on the land and just handling the livestock and making sure everything is being taken care of,” Peroulis said.

First-year Moffat County High School agriculture teacher Ray Sanders advised Peroulis through the completion of a 21-page application, the grading process and interview required to compete for the award.

“When his name was called, I was excited. It’s a big deal. It’s an accumulation of everything that he’s done in high school. I’m glad he has that recognition and that all his hard work has paid off,” Sanders said.

Peroulis’ father, Tony Peroulis, attended the state FFA convention when he was a student 42 years ago and was there last week to see his son win the top honor.

“I’m proud of my son,” Tony said.

A member of the school board of education, Tony is also proud of the FFA and agricultural program as a whole.

“I learned more and used that class more than any other that I took in high school. We are fortunate to have such a great program. All of the kids are deserving,” Tony Peroulis said.

Hands-on work sets the agriculture program apart from other high school academics.

“Our program doesn’t end at the school doors. It extends beyond the classroom,” said high school FFA teacher Rick Murr.

Work at the ranch continues for John this summer. But the family ranch will have to do without him this fall when he leaves to study mechanical engineering at the University of Wyoming, before eventually returning to the ranch.

“We’ve put a lot of work and effort in, and keeping it in the family is an important thing,” John said. “Carrying that on and being a business owner, that’s important to me, honestly.”

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education