Amanda Sparks was skeptical when she first joined the FFA, but it's a good thing she did. Her involvement and growth through agriculture helped her earn this year's Lubbock Soil and Water Conservation District scholarship.
"I've been in FFA for four years. I started out as a freshman and I actually didn't want to be in FFA when I started," Sparks said. "I was a cheerleader and I need an athletics credit, ended up not needing it, so I got in FFA and I fell in love with it. I started on the judging teams and the leadership teams, and I've had a really good time."
Although FFA had to earn its way into her heart, Sparks has had a deep appreciation and understanding of agriculture her whole life. She said that it's very important to her family and our region's economy.
"My dad works for Hurst Farm Supply, so agriculture plays a big role in my life because that's what puts food on my table in more ways that one," Sparks said. "It's not just what I'm eating, but my dad makes his money from that. He sells tractors for a living and works with farmers on a daily basis."
And in an effort to prepare herself for college this coming fall, Sparks applied for several scholarships to help offset tuition costs. Her involvement though agriculture helped earn her the Lubbock Soil and Water Conservation District scholarship.
"For Texas Tech I had to apply during the fall semester and I got accepted within a couple of weeks. And for scholarships, I've done about 12 different scholarships, and I've gotten some and I haven't gotten some," Sparks said. "I had to fill out all of my information of course and then I wrote an essay about the importance of soil and water conservation to me and to our society as a whole and that was a great experience."
She said that the SWCD truly is a resource for not only area producers, but anyone living in West Texas since we all have a responsibility to conserve our natural resources.
"Some of the things that I focused on in that was that we are in a drought and conserving water is huge for us because it's a real possibility that we could stay in a drought for a long time," Sparks said. "So the things that we can do to conserve our water as a society is going to help us in the future."
And with the help of her well deserved scholarship money, Sparks will be studying agriculture communications at Texas Tech starting in August. She is deeply grateful for the Soil and Water Conservation District as well as the impact FFA has had on her life.
"The biggest impact that FFA has had on my life is through leadership," Sparks said. "I have learned so much about being a leader. When people look at FFA they probably don't think that people like myself are going to be into it. I'm not really into the animal side of FFA, I don't show, I just do leadership contests and it has helped me speak in front of people and overcome a lot of fears."
And congratulations again to Amanda Sparks, this week's Ag Student of the Week and a member of Cooper High School FFA. To send us nominations of deserving young people involved in agriculture, please email us at AgDay@fox34.com .