MADERA, California. (KGPE) – Madera is home to an award-winning team of students who are now headed to a national championship competition, and one was elected to a state office.

They are all girls, and members of Future Farmers of America.

The four girls, Mercedes Gonzalez, Kassandra Hernandez, Elena Robles, and Marilyn Bautista, are state champions in veterinary science for FFA.

“It’s very exciting being number one in the state. We worked very hard for it,” said Gonzalez.

They had to overcome hurdles, submitting their projects online instead of in-person because of COVID-19.

They practiced and practiced.

“Well, it’s exciting since we’re seniors. The first year I did it we got second and I was like well I have to win eventually. I’m really glad that I got to do it before I graduated,” said Hernandez.

The four girls, in the signature blue FFA jackets, say there is extra gratification that they won as an all-girl team.

Mostly the teams that you do see here competing are male teams. And then this being a whole female team was pretty nice to see,” Mercedes

“The sports teams I know here they usually get all the recognition, so it kind of feels nice to have that once in a while especially being an all-girls team,” said Robles.

They were joined in their accomplishments by fellow chapter member Lesly Madriz, who was elected state treasurer.

“I’m just really humbled and honored that I was chosen for this position, I’m so excited,” said Madriz.

It’s the first time in fifty years a student from Madera has been chosen as one of six state officers.

“You don’t have to be a good speaker to be in FFA, you don’t have to like animals to be in FFA. There are so many opportunities within this program that I’m sure anyone will find their liking,” Madriz said.

Their advisor, Julie Luxon, says the students were determined to win!

“They work so hard and to see them accomplish this really huge feat has been so cool, not only for them but for our entire chapter and the whole school,” said Luxon.

Their advice to other girls?

“I’d say definitely study hard, that’s like a generic answer but you need to study hard in order to succeed, said Bautista.

I’d say don’t be that scared to not be as knowledgeable as the others because you’ll learn eventually you’ll learn,” explained Gonzalez.

“The key would be learning from your mistakes and going in with confidence, you can’t underestimate yourself,” said Hernandez.

The national championship takes place in August.