Montevallo student earns state FFA degree

Hard work, dedication and many projects recently helped a Montevallo High School senior earn the top degree given by the Alabama Future Farmers of America.

Tora Smith, currently the vice president of the Montevallo FFA Chapter, will be the only student graduating from her high school with an Alabama FFA state degree this spring.

Although the state degree program typically takes four years to obtain, Smith earned her degree in two years.

“I’ve worked really hard,” Smith said. “Like I said, I completed a four-year program in two years.”

“She went through quite a process,” said Smith’s mother, Regina.

To obtain the degree, Smith had to invest $1,000 into a supervised agricultural experience, complete 300 hours of community service projects, maintain high grades, give a speech on matters affecting the state FFA and complete several other requirements.

Smith also planned several events for the Montevallo chapter, including a development conference and an officer’s retreat. But Smith said her favorite FFA activity involved playing bass guitar in front of a national audience.

“I actually got to play my bass guitar in the (FFA) string band competition,” Smith said. “I played in front of over 70,000 people, and it also aired on cable TV.”

Even though Smith now has the state FFA degree, she said she does not plan to rest.

“I now qualify to get an American degree,” Smith said. “I’ll spend the next two years completing the requirements for that.

“The American degree is the highest level of degree the FFA offers,” she added. “I’ll get to accept that at a national conference in two years.”