The red seats of the United Spirit Arena were covered by the national blue jackets of FFA members on Tuesday afternoon for the 2011 Lone Star FFA Degree ceremony. With 1,395 FFA members receiving the degree and golden charm, the ceremony seemed nearly as big as the Lone Star State itself.
The highest degree awarded by the Texas FFA Association, the Lone Star FFA Degree is bestowed upon FFA members who have successfully completed the necessary work on their supervised agricultural experience (SAE) and FFA activities. FFA members may apply to receive the Lone Star Degree only after they have received the Chapter FFA Degree.
According to Texas FFA’s website, in order to receive the Lone Star Degree, students must be active FFA members for at least two years, complete at least four semesters of agricultural science at or above the ninth grade level, maintain a SAE program and demonstrate their leadership skills, and show a commitment to the FFA through involvement at the chapter level and above. In addition, degree candidates must complete 25 hours of community service.
“Our degree reflects our philosophy of agricultural education,” said Texas FFA Executive Director Tom Maynard.
For the 1,000 plus degree candidates who paraded across the stage, it was the culmination of two years worth of hard work, sacrifice and completion of the necessary requirements.
“We brought fourth graders to the county fairgrounds and taught them the aspects of agriculture,” said Taylor Mangum, a Wharton FFA member, as she explained a few of her numerous community service activities required to receive a Lone Star Degree.
For many it was the thrill of achieving a goal. For others, it was a relief to finally attain the Lone Star Degree.
“I can speak for my fellow members when I say walking into this arena, surrounded by the national blue and corn gold of the FFA is an amazing feeling,” said Weimar FFA member Ryan Rerich. “It feels great.”
“It’s a great feeling and a relief,” said Sealy FFA member Jacob Berger, as he waited to cross the stage and receive his degree.