Huckabay’s Lavergne earns 2020 Lone Star FFA Degree

By Patty Hullett
For the Empire-Tribune
Jamie Lavergne shows her pig this year as a senior FFA competitor.

Jamie Lavergne, a senior at Huckabay High School, earned the prestigious Lone Star FFA Degree during the 5th General Session of the Texas FFA Convention, which took place virtually. Lavergne joins six other former award winners from her alma mater.

Lavergne is the first female in Huckabay FFA Chapter history to earn this prestigious award, and the first female recipient in 44 years.

“I first became interested in the FFA program when I was much younger and when I enjoyed traveling with my mother, Theresia Lavergne, (who used to run some of the state events in Louisiana) to livestock shows, judging contests, and other FFA events," she said. "I learned, early on, that I wanted to be active in FFA because of the many opportunities available for high school students. Even at a young age, I was convinced that this worthwhile organization would help me learn many great life lessons, responsibilities, and other essential skills needed for my future career and life. And selfishly, I also loved FFA because it was just plain, good fun.”

When asked when she became involved in showing animals, Lavergne quickly replied, “I have shown livestock and poultry since I was 9 years old. I exhibited Silver Sebright bantam chickens, White Leghorn bantam chickens, and Rhode Island Red bantam chickens. I also raised and exhibited market and breeding goats for seven years. And to top it all off, this year – my senior year – I raised and exhibited market swine."

Through raising and exhibiting these different animals, each year Lavergne learned something new and challenging, she said, adding she has enjoyed showing livestock and has decided to pursue a career in the livestock industry.

Lavergne has been involved in several high school programs during her four years at Huckabay High. She has served as her FFA chapter’s secretary her junior and senior years. In addition to FFA, she has been part of the Rodeo Club and is president this year. She has also been a varsity cheerleader for three years and is the captain this year.

In addition, she is a member of the Texas High School Rodeo Association Region X, where she competes frequently in barrel racing and breakaway roping.

Following is the list of criteria to be considered as a candidate for a Lone Star Degree:

• Greenhand Degree: earned as a freshman

• Chapter Degree: earned as a sophomore

• FFA member for at least 24 months prior to receiving the Lone Star Degree

• Completing 360 hours of systematic school instruction in agricultural education at

or above the ninth-grade level (in and outside of the classroom setting)

• Earned and productively invested $1,000 in a Supervised Agricultural Experience

program (show animals)

• Demonstrate leadership ability by performing 10 procedures of parliamentary law

• Give a six-minute speech on a topic related to agriculture or FFA

• Serve as an officer, committee chairperson, or participating member of a chapter

committee

• Have a satisfactory scholastic record

• Have participated in at least five different FFA activities above the chapter level

• Have participated in at least 25 hours of community service

To further explain the program and the requirements, Lavergne said, “To earn my FFA Lone Star Degree, I participated in livestock and equine judging, which are Career Development events. I also participated in Leadership Development Events, which feature Junior and Senior Chapter Conducting, and other things like Junior and Senior FFA Quiz, and Senior Creed Speaking. I served as an officer of my school chapter for two years."

Lavergne says she also had Supervised Agriculture Experience projects in her livestock show animals of market goats and market swine. She also served the community by helping with the local livestock show, community gatherings, and by assisting younger FFA members.

"To earn this special degree, I also presented a speech to our school’s FFA Booster Club," she said. "The speech was on equine protozoa myeloencephalitis.”

By winning this special award, Lavergne is now qualified to apply for FFA scholarships; regular FFA students cannot apply for these without earning a Lone Star Degree first.

Her current college plans include attending close-by Tarleton State University in Stephenville, where she plans to major in animal science and hopes to continue to compete in rodeo events at the collegiate level.

“I was extremely excited when my ag teacher called to tell me that I officially passed the state degree check and would be awarded the Lone Star Degree. I was so thrilled to learn that all of my hard work and determination had finally paid off. And then, I asked him, ‘What can I accomplish next?’” she said.

“I was a bit disappointed when the FFA Convention was virtual and not in-person,” Lavergne added. “Instead, the organization had a virtual ceremony at the state level. However, my school chapter sponsored a small party for the Huckabay community to present my degree to me in-person, which was very nice.”

Lavergne said she wishes to thank many of the people and mentors who have been a huge part of her FFA success along the way in her life.

“There are countless names, including our FFA booster club members, school principal, school superintendent, and fellow FFA members that have always aided me in my FFA experiences," she said. "However, some of my biggest supporters have been my parents – Wayne and Theresia Lavergne. They have hauled me and my projects countless miles and have always been ring-side to cheer me on. My ag teacher, Mr. Vinnie Heller, has pushed me the extra mile in everything I try to do for our chapter, including making sure I had a show pig for my senior year. Lastly, I send a special thank you to my cheerleading coach, Mrs. Rocky Helton, who has always accepted me using our cheer class period as extra time in the Ag shop when I needed it most.”

Huckabay High School FFA Lone Star Degree winners

1964 – Richard Stewart

1966 – James Stewart

1970 – Johnny Tate

1971 – Alex Fambro

1976 – Marvin Hallmark

1976 – Kenneth Shadden

2020 – Jamie Lavergne