By Deanna Kirk
Corsicana Daily Sun
Add another notch to the belt of Blooming Grove FFA — former student Kyle Armstrong just received the coveted American FFA Degree.
This makes three recipients of this hard-earned honor from Blooming Grove. Armstrong joins brother and sister Andy and Anna Calhoun, who were also members of Blooming Grove FFA and earned their American FFA Degrees. Andy is currently an ag teacher at Mildred High School, and Anna and Kyle are both students at Texas A&M University.
Armstrong received this honor Nov. 2, 2013 at the 86th National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ken.
According to the National Future Farmers of America bylaws, “The American FFA Degree recognizes demonstrated leadership ability and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing, or service programs. To be eligible, members must have earned and productively invested $7,500 through a supervised agricultural experience program in which they start, own, or hold a professional position in an existing agricultural enterprise.”
Armstrong kept records from his high school freshman year to document a successful agricultural enterprise, as well as documenting over 2,200 hours of comprehensive planning outside of the classroom. He also logged over 50 hours of community service. His enterprise was market sheep and swine, along with ag mechanics design and fabrication.
“After five years of involvement in FFA, I would consider the American Degree the pinnacle of my FFA career,” Armstrong said. “It is such an honor to be a part of what I consider an elite group. About one percent of members are awarded this prestigious degree. It leaves me with a sense of ultimate fulfillment.”
Throughout his high school career in FFA, Armstrong’s instructors were Monica Patrick and Harry Dotson.
“Kyle is that student who had the ability to make you smile and always wanted to keep it fun,” Patrick said. “One of my favorite moments shared with Kyle was watching him race his dragster his senior year. He is a true leader, always selflessly looking out for the betterment of the group.”
Armstrong is studying Agricultural Science at A&M where he is currently in his second year, though actually classified as a junior thanks to Blooming Grove’s dual credit program through Navarro College.
“I enjoyed Blooming Grove’s ag science program with Mr. Dotson and Mrs. Patrick so much that there really was not a career as appealing as teaching Agricultural Science,” Kyle said. “The fun I had and the life lessons I learned with my advisors will be with me forever. I hope one day to be able to impact my future students’ lives in a positive way, just as Mr. Dotson and Mrs. Patrick did for me.”
As the 2012 Blooming Grove High salutatorian and an honor graduate, Kyle was also an FFA member from 2008 to 2013; serving as president of that FFA chapter in 2011-2012; has a 4.0 GPA, and made Dean’s List in Fall 2012 and Spring 2013; is a Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society member for TAMU; a collegiate FFA member; and is a COALS (College of Agriculture and Life Science) HLS&R Scholarship recipient.
When not in College Station, Armstrong lives in Corsicana with his mom, Lou Ann, a third-grade teacher at Blooming Grove Elementary; his father, Scott, a firefighter with the City of Corsicana; and his number one fan, little sister Kaci, who is in kindergarten.
“As much help and support as I have received from countless members of this community, I know without a doubt that I would not be where I am today without my loving parents,” Kyle said. “They have been there for all the ups and downs. Their dedication and commitment of time has certainly had a great impact on reaching my goal of being awarded by American FFA Degree.
“I also have to thank my biggest fan, my little sister Kaci. She is always smiling and cheering me on.”
Deanna Kirk may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: email@example.com