(Contributed photo)

WATSONVILLE — November brings graduation to the locally-based national award-winning Focus Agriculture program. 

A ceremony and reception was held at the Pajaro Valley Historical Association’s Bockius-Orr house on Beach Street in Watsonville on Nov. 3 for Class XXVIII of the Focus Agriculture program. 

Focus Agriculture, a program of the organization Agri-Culture, is a “first-in-the-nation” program that allows community leaders to learn firsthand about agriculture in Santa Cruz County and the Pajaro Valley. The nine-session program covers topics such as ethnic groups in agriculture, labor, new technology, land use, politics, the environment and health care.

The members of the graduating class for 2017 are:

• Georgia Acosta — Principal, I.O.I Furniture / PVUSD’s Area II Trustee

• Kathy Arola — School Leadership Development / Mentor for School Administrators, New Teacher Center, S.C. County Office of Education

• Michele Bassi — Vice President of Business Development, Lighthouse Bank

• Caitlin Brune — CEO, Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust

• Christina Cuevas — Program Director, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County / Cabrillo College Trustee

• Angela Farley — Executive Director, Teen Kitchen Project

• Emily Freed — Regional Production Manager, Jacobs Farm/del Cabo, Inc.

• Lyza Gianelli — Company Store Manager, S. Martinelli & Co.

• Peter Hansen — Sergeant, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office

• Felipe Hernandez — City Councilmember, City of Watsonville

• Matt Huffaker — Assistant City Manager, City of Watsonville

• Nanette Mickiewicz — President and CEO, Dignity Health Dominican Hospital

• Salina Nevarez — Administrative Assistant, UC Santa Cruz

• Michelle Overbeck — Marketing Manager, Big Creek Lumber

• Jaron Reyes — Relationship Manager, Santa Cruz County Bank

• Nikki Silva — Co-Founder / Co-Executive Producer, The Kitchen Sisters Productions

• Dylan Skybrook — Manager, Santa Cruz Mountains Stewardship Network

• Sven Stafford — Senior Administrative Analyst, County of Santa Cruz

• David Weber — Account Executive / Producer, McSherry & Hudson

• Teri Wempe — Owner – Stylist, Head Quarters of Aptos

• Michael Wieland — Director, Ancillary Services, Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz

The ceremony included a graduation certificate plus a certificate prepared and presented by Congressman Jimmy Panetta’s office. 

“This was an excellent class,” Agri-Culture President Steve Bontadelli said. “We are appreciative of the speakers and participants for giving their time during the year.”

Those interested in applying for the next class, which will begin in March 2018, can contact the Agri-Culture office at 722-6622 or they can email their request for an application to [email protected]

Your name will be placed on a mailing list for applications that will be released in early December.

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