Kayli Kennedy, daughter of Jeff and Stacey Kennedy and 2021 Pleasanton High School graduate, was one of five students in the state to be awarded the Texas FFA Foundation $1,000 awards offered this year.
“When you are proud of something, you want to share it,” said Aaron Alejandro, executive director of the Texas FFA Foundation. “We are proud of our graduating seniors and the grit they showed to navigate one of the toughest years to be a student. We honor their resiliency and know it will be a core value which will serve them well for many years to come. We are honored to select five Texas FFA members to receive a $1,000 award.”
With the adjustments that had to be made in the school system due to COVID-19, and the effects these changes had on students, the Texas FFA Foundation wanted to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating FFA seniors. The foundation gave congratulatory certifications to the more than 1,000 senior members nominated and awarded five members with $1,000 awards.
“It goes without saying that this past year has been extremely challenging for students across the board,” said Austin Large, executive director of the Texas FFA Association. “On average, Texas FFA has between 25,000- 30,000 senior members and many of the activities they were looking forward to were unavailable to them this year. The Texas FFA Foundation’s decision to honor our students during their last year of high school was a wonderful token of appreciation.”
In recognition of the hard work that these students put forth in such a difficult time, the Foundation asked parents to submit an online nomination for their children. Originally, there was to be only one award given, but when they received more than 1,000 entries, they decided to increase the number of awards to five. Kennedy, of the Pleasanton FFA, was one of the deserving recipients.
“When dealing with FFA and the classroom, it all goes back to the FFA Motto— Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live and Living to Serve,” Kennedy said. “If you learn what you’re being taught by the teacher, then actively do the things you were taught to do, then you can be successful in the FFA teams and events.”
The Texas FFA was founded in 1929 and is currently the largest state FFA association in the country which awards over $2.3 million in scholarships annually. Through competitions at the local, state and national level, students who participate in FFA have the opportunity take what they learn in the classroom and put it into practice in real-life situations.
Texas FFA Foundation was developed to reinforce the efforts of the Texas FFA regarding education in the field of agriculture as well as helping students on an individual level to further their leadership and career skills.
“It has been an honor to serve as the Texas FFA State President over this past year,” said Blake Mills. “I am incredibly proud of our association and the seniors that act as leaders within their own chapters on a daily basis. Each and every graduating member deserves recognition and appreciation for persevering throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Congratulations to you all.”