VISALIA, California (KSEE) – A senior from Visalia, who has put a lot of time and effort into learning about agriculture, is being recognized for his outstanding character.

El Diamante high school senior Yahir Rivera says he never thought working as a field laborer would bring him recognition for his great character.

“I was surprised by that,” said Yahir. “I was proud of me and proud of my teacher because he helped me out a lot too.”

He was nominated by his teacher, Mr. Zachary Brown, who says Yahir is involved with the ag education program and FFA chapter. He has participated in various leadership and community service events attended conferences and served on cotton judging teams.

“He was our sectional winner in fruit production in FFA and that is all through Tulare and Kings County,” said Mr. Brown.

And so he is doing a lot of good work here at school – and at home.

Yahir says his parents, both field laborers, brought him and his two older siblings to the United States to pursue higher education. As an agricultural mechanics student, Yahir wanted to learn how to work in the fields and spends much of his time helping his parents.

He says it’s his involvement in all the activities outside of the classroom, with the help of Mr. Brown, that’s brought him confidence and a sense of direction.

“Before I wouldn’t be able to keep a conversation,” said Yahir. “I was shy. But going into agriculture, cotton judging, it helped me a lot in my vocabulary. How to talk to people not to be scared talking to them. It helped me a lot.