A trio of San Benito High alumni from the Class of 2019 will be receiving some national recognition for their hard work as members of the Hollister Future Farmers of America chapter.
Dallin King, Railyn King and Savanna Souza will be awarded the American FFA Degree at the virtual 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo on Oct. 27.
The award recognizes demonstrated ability and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing or service programs.
This year, 4,136 American Degrees will be awarded and less than one percent of FFA members achieve the degree. Each recipient of the American FFA Degree receives a gold key and certificate after being recognized at the national convention.
Railyn said she had a hunch she was going to win the national award after she won the State FFA Degree.
“Once I passed through California I was really excited because I was pretty sure that I would pass through the national screening,” she said.
Railyn said California is a bit stricter when it comes to winning a degree because they want to make sure that everyone that qualifies can pass through the Nationals.
To be eligible, FFA members must have earned and productively invested $10,000 through the Supervised Agricultural Experience program. The program expects members to start their own business or hold a professional position as an employee.
Recipients must complete 50 hours of community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities, including civic involvement through completion of a long list of FFA and community activities.
Railyn said winning the national award is one of her highest accomplishments to date, especially because she worked hard all four years of high school to get to this level. She sold animals at the San Benito County Fair and began her business, “Succulent Wreaths by Railyn.”
Railyn currently attends the University of Mount Olive in North Carolina, where she studies agricultural business and plays field hockey. Dallin stayed a little bit closer to home and is attending Fresno State to study ag assistance management.
Dallin said it was humbling to win the degree and he felt like all of the hard work he put in paid off in the end.
“The degree in the ag community means that you’re hard working and you’re dedicated to what you do,” he said. “It’ll help me a lot when it comes to getting a job.”
Dallin said he wasn’t as active as his sister, Railyn, but he was still able to help with community service, barbecues and events at the fair.
Dallin built a breezeway bench during his sophomore year and a coffee table set during his senior year in his ag mechanics class. He also showed goats and lambs at the fair, all which was part of the SAE.
Dallin said he also had the chance to compete in the Farm Power and CDE competition. He won both the tractor driving and part identification events.
“That just makes this degree even more important to me,” he said.
The students will be recognized for their accomplishments on RFD TV and the Cowboy Channel on Oct. 27 from 5:45 to 7pm.