During the Future Farmers of America State Convention, which took place July 15-19 at the Fort Worth Convention Center, Sabinal High School incoming seniors Angel Hernandez and Maite Sandoval, and Nueces Canyon High School incoming seniors Caiden Childs, Grace Luce and Leslie Taylor received the Lone Star Degree.
This is the highest honor students can receive in FFA; prerequisites for the award include 360 completed hours in agricultural education, at least two years of active membership, and a completion of 10 activities above the chapter level.
Furthermore, students are required to receive a Chapter FFA degree, earn and productively invest at least $1,000, work an excess of 300 hours outside of class time in a supervised agricultural experience, serve as an FFA officer, perform 10 parliamentary law procedures, maintain a satisfactory academic record and complete 25 hours of community service.
“It feels like a big accomplishment because I put a lot of hard work into it,” said Maite Sandoval.
Sandoval, the daughter of Maria and Joe Sandoval of Sabinal, first got involved with FFA four years ago, but she said her love for the program grew from there.
Her plans are to continue participating in FFA activities during her senior year.
“I want to finish it out and advance to state in seeding and veterinary science,” Sandoval said.
Sandoval has also earned the Chapter and Greenhand FFA degrees. She explained earning these awards acts as a tier, with Greenhand as the first step, then the Chapter degree, and finally the Lone Star Degree.
Angel Hernandez, the daughter of Maria and Bill Hudel of Knippa, has also earned the Greenhand, Chapter and Lone Star degrees and has set her eyes on the next degree: the American degree.
“My goal for this year is to earn the American degree, the highest degree you can earn,” she explained. “It’s doubling from Lone Star.”
Some requirements for the American degree include: active membership for at least three years; completing at least 540 hours in an agricultural education program; a productive investment of $7,500; and achieving a high school scholastic record of C or better.
While Hernandez prepares for the upcoming school year and her responsibilites as the vice president of Sabinal’s FFA chapter, she reflects on earning the Lone Star degree.
“It was a big deal getting the degree. It was very personal,” Hernandez explained. “Some people said I wasn’t that dedicated and I wanted to prove people wrong. Getting this degree would mean that I could do it and others could, too.”
As she enters her senior year, Hernandez looks forward to finishing strong.
Additionally, she plans to join a FFA chapter in whichever college she attends.
“I would like to keep participating and show people that there are programs as cool as FFA,” Hernandez said. “I want to be an advocate.”
In addition to Sabinal and Nueces Canyon students, more than 12,000 students attended the four-day event.
“I cannot think of another organization that allows kids such an opportunity,” said Nueces Canyon FFA advisor Richard Kramer in a press release from July 23. “FFA is truly preparing the leaders of tomorrow.”
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