By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

This month, hundreds of Texas Future Farmers of America members, led by students from Weimar FFA, will be in Fort Worth, actively taking part in 13 different community service projects. From landscaping to litter cleanup opportunities, those attending the Texas FFA Convention will help “Keep Fort Worth Beautiful.”

One of those students is Paris Sanchez, the current Dawson FFA Chapter President and an Area VIII Officer.

Paris Sanchez, Dawson FFA Chapter President and an Area VIII Officer. – Courtesy photo

Sanchez is going into her senior year of high school, and has been a part of FFA since third grade. She has always found agriculture to be one of her biggest passions in life. As chapter president, her duties include gathering officers over the summer to plan out the upcoming school year to ensure it runs smoothly for the next school year.

As an area officer, Sanchez represents one of twelve regions, allowing her to advocate farther for local and state agriculture, while remaining a role model. She also plans and conducts the area leadership conference, where she chose the theme of G.L.O.W. (Gratitude, Leadership, Opportunity, Why) to help district leaders serve to the best of their potential.

The Texas FFA Association embraces the idea of building stronger communities – even the last line of the FFA motto, “Living to Serve,” signifies the vital role service plays in the organization.

The “Keep Fort Worth Beautiful” initiative is an extension of that philosophy, taking care of various parks, farms, neighborhoods, and other nature areas throughout Fort Worth. These areas are established in advance by the FFA, with Sanchez’s chapter planning to clean up one of the parks.

“You divide and conquer,” Sanchez said of the program’s widespread reach. “You go in different directions and do your best to find all the trash and pick it up, and everybody brings extra trash bags to help out.”

Eventually, the program will extend to other areas past Fort Worth, though Sanchez noted her group has also cleaned around the Corsicana and Dawson area.

Sanchez says she plans to continue her environmentalism past the program.

“I will definitely be continuing to do this as I graduate high school,” she said. “Maybe not as a career entirely, but definitely community service as I continue to get older.”

For college, Sanchez plans to expand on the work she has done with FFA, looking to study Ag leadership and communication.

“I have been lucky enough to have found my spark and my passion,” Sanchez said. “So I’ve actually been looking at attending A&M College in College Station in hopes of pursing a career to be an Extension Agent, or an Ag teacher.”

“I would like to promote FFA a little bit because I know I can show other people the benefits, that not only is it the basis of making a friend, they can go new places, and try new things. It can be one of the most helpful organizations when learning leadership and life skills, and really help define core values, and expand on high morals for yourself.”

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