September 26, 2021

Two HCHS graduates earn American FFA Degrees

(Franklin, GA) — Two former Heard County High School FFA members were among the roughly 4,000 FFA members nationwide who received the American FFA Degree this year at the 93rd Virtual National FFA Convention & Expo.

As the highest degree achievable in the National FFA Organization, the American FFA Degree shows an FFA member’s dedication to his or her chapter and state FFA association.

Marissa Hollingsworth

Only one percent of FFA members earn this prestigious honor — a degree more rare than a sports championship title.

Students must earn $10,000 and perform 1000 hours of logged work along with numerous community service project hours.

American Degree winners are exposed to elite scholarship opportunities and career opportunities.

For these degree winners, their futures are bright!

Be sure to view these outstanding students as they receive recognition for all their hard work in earning the American Degrees on YouTube during the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo.

Marissa Hollingsworth is a 2019 Heard County High School graduate. She was an FFA member for four years where she started off as parliamentarian, Vice president, and finished as President her senior year.

For Marissa’s SAE she worked at a veterinarians office and volunteered at an animal shelter. Marissa’s interests and hobbies include working with animals and livestock.

She also enjoys horticulture in her free time. Marissa aspires to be a veterinarian and own an animal clinic one day.

What was the most rewarding thing about earning this degree?

“The most rewarding thing about this degree is who it has shaped me into, and the love of agriculture it has instilled within me,” says Marissa.

“Not only has it brought me into lifelong friends, and priceless memories, but it has fueled a passion that I was not completely aware of. It started in 2015 and the effects it has had on me are still well in motion.”

She says patience is the biggest challenge to earning the prestigious award.

“The hardest thing was being patient and ‘sitting still’ you work your way up from the bottom. Seeing what is ahead of you is exciting, but the process feels long when you’re living through it.”

When asked what advice she would give to the FFA members who are wanting to  get their American Degree in the future, Marissa replied: “Do not give up, pursue this degree after you graduate. There will be times you wonder if it’s all worth it, and it is. It opens all kinds of doors. The memories and lessons that come with it are just as rewarding.”

Chase is also an HCHS graduate of 2019. He was an FFA member for four years where he served as Sentinel and Treasurer. He competed in Small Engine competitions and enjoyed farm work in his free time.

Chase Powell

Chase was also known for being involved with community projects such as the local canned food drive, toy drive, adopted a stretch of highway to keep clean.

He currently works for the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) where he is conducting research with peanuts.

“Being able to bring recognition to the chapter and the community is a very big part of achieving this goal,” Chase stated after the convention.

Chase, who aspires to work in private research, says the hardest challenge he faced while trying to achieve your American Degree was being able to keep focus on the goal of achieving the degree.

His advice for future members who would like to earn an American Degree?

“Set it as a goal and work towards it,” says Chase. “It won’t come fast but keep pushing towards your goal.”

(Information and photos courtesy of Kristin WIlson/Heard County FFA)

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