WHS students named national champions at FFA Agriscience Fair

Hannah Mae Amores

Waipahu High School students Sean Michael Valencia Monte and Mariah Pricella Quibol were named national champions at the National FFA Organization’s Agriscience Fair Competition. The pair was awarded the title for their research on bokashi composting, and are the first students to represent Hawaii as the national champions since 1960.

Their project researched ways to increase the efficiency of bokashi composting. Bokashi compost is an eco-friendly fertilizer for plants which can be made with a wider variety of scraps than traditional composting (including meat, fish, and dairy).  Its name comes from the Japanese word meaning “fermented organic matter.” Bokashi composting is done in airtight containers, and the compost is broken down with the help of beneficial bacteria in a medium such as bran or rice.

Composting is just one example of agricultural issues that the National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, tackles. It is the largest student-led organization in the nation, but a lack of agriculture-focused teachers has led to a decline in their membership in Hawaii. The National FFA Organization provides students with leadership opportunities and helps them grow in different careers in agriculture.