Loya to the cause

Sophomore gains confidence through ag advocacy


Courtesy of Amadeo Loya

Sophomore Amadeo Loya presents with his Agriculture Issues team at the Texas Wheat Producers Association.

A group of teenagers clad in official FFA dress stands before an audience. One student stands confidently, fully prepared to present. The name inscribed in golden thread on his blue jacket reads ‘Amadeo Loya’. He did not always have this confidence. Once a shy student unwilling to even speak before his class, Loya has now found purpose in his voice, and he uses it to advocate for FFA.

The LEAD Council named Amadeo Loya sophomore Student of the Month for November. Loya serves as vice president of chapter development for FFA. His older sister, Demi Loya, introduced him to FFA as a fifth grader when she brought him to her dairy cattle judging practices.

“She did FFA all through high school, and it started when she made the chapter dairy cattle judging team,” Loya said. “I was like, ‘Okay, you judge cows. Weird.’ She said, ‘Oh yeah, well you are going to have to sit in on the practices, and they’re two and a half hours every day after school for the next few weeks.’ I really got my first taste of FFA sitting in on those dairy cow judging practices and learning about cows, and then I saw my sister for the first time in official dress, and I thought ‘I want that jacket with my name on it.’”

I enjoy public speaking simply because I know that what I am advocating for has purpose and importance.”

— Amadeo Loya

Loya officially joined FFA in eighth grade at Tuloso Midway in Corpus Christi. He moved to Canyon his freshman year and joined FFA. Loya said FFA helped him find his voice, and because of that, he felt drawn to it.

“I was that kid who sat in the back of the room like, ‘Don’t call on me, I don’t want to talk,’” Loya said. “My teachers noticed that. They saw my potential and pulled me out of that shell. Now that my ag teachers made me get out of that, I am usually the one on the front row who is always talking and likes to present.”

Loya said he is confident when speaking publicly, but he does get nervous like any other person. When this happens, Loya said he takes a deep breath and steps backwards to look at the bigger picture.  

“I am reminded what I am talking about has a meaning, whether I am speaking individually or with any one of my teams,” Loya said. “I enjoy public speaking simply because I know what I am advocating for has purpose and importance.”

Loya said one of the main emotions he feels when presenting with his team is trust.

“I know I can count on any one of them for support on questions or any matter,” Loya said. “Trust is something that is very hard to build with any team; however, once it is there it is a great feeling.”

Loya said many people, especially freshmen, look up to him because he is in a leadership position as an officer.

“I really enjoy being a person people look up to and come to for advice,” Loya said. “I love the position, and it fits me perfectly. I am always ready to give anyone advice about anything. Whether it be ag or something  going on in their life, I am willing to help everyone.”

In the face of a challenge difficult to overcome, Loya said he assesses all his options and utilizes this strategy when preparing for his ag competitions.

I always challenge myself, because if you are not challenging yourself, you are not really getting better.”

— Amadeo Loya

“I think about what the result is, I take the best path, and I stick with that path,” Loya said. “For my competitions it is studying all the time, making sure I get the little things right. The judges will throw things at you that you are not expecting, so you have to be ready for the unexpected. I focus on being on my toes the whole time because you never know what is going to be thrown at you, and you have to be able to bounce back.”

Loya said he likes to challenge himself in both school and FFA. Loya competes in Agricultural Issues Forum, Chapter Conducting, Meat evaluation, and Soil Stewardship Prepared Public Speaking. He has previously competed in Wool Judging, Agronomy and Chapter Agricultural Quiz.

“I always feel better in the end when I challenge myself, even though it may be a rough path,” Loya said. “I always challenge myself, because if you are not challenging yourself, you are not really getting better. I always try to get better.”

Loya said the amount of work put into practices can be very tiring, but he is driven by his love of the feeling of success and accomplishment.

“When you hear that you are advancing to area or to state, or even to nationals, it is just the greatest feeling in the world,” Loya said. “It may be the most stressful time in the world, but it is the greatest feeling in the end because you know you put in your hard work and effort into it.”

Loya said he is involved in FFA because it is a good cause and great use of his time, and he plans to continue with agriculture while in college. He hopes to attend either Texas A&M University or Texas Tech University and major in agriculture engineering or mechanical engineering.

“As for my future, I am uncertain of what it holds for me,” Loya said. “However, with whatever I may end up doing, I am going to make it a point to still advocate for agriculture. I believe it is of the utmost importance we inform everyone of the importance of agriculture.”