FFA Members Receive American Degree
Five members of the Tyler FFA chapter have been awarded the highest degree attainable in the National FFA Organization. Those receiving their American Degree were Baylee Roberts, Aleah Baker, David Booher, Alexandra Greathouse, and P.J. Wright. These individuals travelled to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis and were presented with the degree in a ceremony that aired live on RFD TV and in front of a large audience of FFA members, advisors, family, and friends from all over the country.
As any FFA member or FFA alumni knows, countless hours go into earning the American degree. “I started FFA as a Freshman at TCHS, so ever since that first year I have been working my way up to receiving this degree,” said Aleah Baker.
Baylee Roberts reported it took her five years to reach this milestone. Not only does a member have to be awarded the Greenhand, Chapter, and State Degree, they must also exhibit community service work, leadership skills, and academic achievement.
“I worked day in and out making sure my livestock would make it to the sale portion of the fair shows and I also sold eggs on the side to make money towards the degree,” said Roberts. “…you have to make $10,000 in profit as well as other things to qualify for this degree. It’s the highest honor there is in FFA.”
However, what many people are unaware of is that FFA develops more skills than just agricultural knowledge. This is evident from the changing of the name in 1988 from Future Farmers of America to the National FFA Organization.
David Booher reflects on this aspect, “Along with keeping accurate records of my SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) projects, I had to have community service hours, be an active member, and develop outstanding leadership.”
As one might infer, being awarded this honor is a huge success. “My American FFA Degree is something I have strived for ever since entering the organization… This is the highest honor an FFA member can earn which results in only 1 percent of FFA members receiving this degree… It is something you work for throughout all of high school.” reported Alexandra Greathouse.
However, regardless of the hard work and hours they put in, these outstanding members are still sure to give credit where credit is due. “I am thankful to God for blessing me with two amazing Ag Teachers and FFA advisors. If it wasn’t for Mr. Leon Ammons and Mrs. Annie Erwin, this would not have been possible,” says Booher.
P.J. Wright was also quick to recognize the significance of his advisors. “Luckily, we have amazing teachers who know the goal we want to achieve and are always there to help keep us motivated,” he said.
It’s not just the advisors, however, who give support and guidance. Parents, friends, and family members build a strong foundation on which these members grow. “With the support of Mr. Ammons, my parents, and my grandparents, I did it!” said Baylee Roberts.
Although this is a huge honor, it also signifies the conclusion of an active membership in something that all members hold near and dear to their hearts, The National FFA Organization. “As I took that blue corduroy jacket off for the last time, I was able to reflect on the sweat, tears, laughs, and all the memories that came with it,” recalls Baker.
Congratulations to all five members who received this award.