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A nearly four-decade career in teaching agriculture was more than enough confirmation for the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association to induct David DeSilva into its hall of fame.

DeSilva, who lives in Hanford, was inducted on June 27 at Ca Poly, San Luis Obispo during the association’s annual summer conference.

The California Agricultural Teachers' Association was formed in 1920 with the purpose of promoting and improving the teaching of agriculture in California and to foster the welfare of those engaged in this work.

According to its website, the association inducts retired ag teachers who are dedicated to the service of vocational agriculture, agriculture education and Future Farmers of America into its hall of fame.

DeSilva grew up on a family dairy farm in Gustine, about 30 miles west of Merced, where he helped his parents with farm work and developed a deep appreciation for family and farm life. He said education was always emphasized by his parents and his passion for agriculture grew after he became an FFA member.

He said those early life experiences gave him direction to follow his passion for teaching agriculture and getting involved in community work.

After graduating from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, DeSilva was assigned to Riverdale High School as a student teacher. From there, he taught for five years at Hanford High School, which brought him to the area.

DeSilva started his 30-year career at College of the Sequoias in Visalia in 1984 until his retirement in 2014.

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Over the course of his 38-year teaching career, DeSilva said he just simply enjoyed working with young students involved in 4-H and FFA and teaching college students about agriculture because it is so important to society and feeding the world.

DeSilva’s resume is chock-full of honors and agricultural programs he has been involved with. Some of the highlights include:

  • Academic senate member and ag division chair at COS.
  • Created, organized and conducted the California Crop Center at the World Ag Expo.
  • Explained and promoted the agricultural association at ag colleges in the Ukraine, Russia and Haiti Ministry School of Agriculture.
  • Developed and taught the “College for Kids” summer ag program for youth ages 10-14.
  • Coached 14 national-winning collegiate meat judging teams.
  • Taught or mentored 23 students who have gone on to become agriculture teachers and others who became ag industry leaders and business owners.

DeSilva was nominated for the induction into the hall of fame by members of the San Joaquin Region of the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, which was reviewed by a state committee of teachers and administrators.

DeSilva said there are many retired teachers who are deserving of this type of recognition and he was just grateful to be a part of the hall of fame class.

“I was very honored and very humbled,” DeSilva said.

Now that he’s retired, DeSilva said he stays busy in the community through his involvement with the Knights of Columbus service organization and has continued to help with local 4-H and FFA chapters.

He also enjoys spending time at a ranch he owns near Three Rivers.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2423 or jzavala@hanfordsentinel.com

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