celebrate education - brought to you by the amarillo globe-news

Pig passion pays off

Grad garners 3 scholarships via critters

By Tamara Jones

Charla McKinney, 17, has enjoyed showing pigs since she was 8 years old, and her passion is paying off. She is the recipient of the Potter County Livestock Scholarship, Americorps Scholarship and Houston Livestock Scholarship.

An active member of Future Farmers of America, McKinney has shown lambs, steers and goats, in addition to pigs.

This year, she showed the Grand Champion Pig at the Potter County Stock Show and had the Reserve Breed Champion pig in San Angelo.

McKinney received an outstanding achievement award in Senior Creed and Radio, both part of FFA. According to McKinney, FFA has a creed that one must recite word for word then answer questions about.

Radio is an event in which participants write a radio script and talk with a group of judges about an important matter in life.

Two of her most memorable FFA experiences include attending Leadership Camp at Clarendon College during the summer and the State Convention in Corpus Christi.

In addition to FFA, McKinney also participated in Americorps through which she tutored students at local elementary schools.

"That's something I really enjoy," McKinney said. So much so, that she continued to work with one young boy after the program had ended for the year.

"He needed some extra help reading so I have been going to meet with him even though we're finished."

The tutoring plays well into McKinney's plans for the future.

In the next five years, she hopes to be teaching a class full of students.

Her grandmother was a teacher and "I love kids," McKinney said.

She has worked part time as a sales associate at Buffalo Authentic since the store opened in November 2007.

She plans to spend the summer baby-sitting three young children so she can save up enough money to not have to work during her first semester of college.

Although McKinney does not talk much about her accomplishments, stepmother Kim is extremely proud of what she has achieved.

"She is 212 out of 471 seniors at Tascosa and vice president of the FFA chapter," Mrs. McKinney said.

"She chose to make her life better and has strived hard and succeeded," she continued.

McKinney grew up primarily in Amarillo and math is her favorite subject in school. She is a member of the National Honor Roll and enjoys swimming.

She plans to attend West Texas A & M University in the fall where she will major in agricultural education. Her parents are Harold and Kim McKinney of Amarillo and Darla Burnes of Austin. She has one brother and four sisters.

McKinney values her family above all else saying, "They're everything to me." As for herself she says, "I can be very shy sometimes, but I know when I need to stand up for what I believe."

Editor's note: The Amarillo Globe-News is profiling a student a day from May 9 through Friday as part of its 2008 graduation coverage. Students were nominated by Globe-News readers.

calendar of events
  • January 11
    Kickoff of 2009 Program
    Find out what Celebrate Education is all about in this special section in your Sunday paper.
  • March 7
    Regional Spelling Bee, West Texas A&M University
    The annual Regional Spelling Bee will feature the top spellers from the Amarillo area. The top five winners will receive scholarship money ranging from $500 to $5,000 and the winner will travel to Washington, D.C., in June to represent the area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
  • Spring and Fall
    Amarillo Reads community-wide reading projects.
    Dates and details TBA
  • April
    Amarillo Education Matching Grants Program. Exact date TBA
  • April 10
    What's a Kid to Do Special Section
  • April 12
    What's a Kid to Do at the Amarillo Civic Center
    This event will focus on activities and camps for children to participate in during the summer..
  • May 8-29
    Beating the Odds
    A series of stories published daily in the Amarillo Globe-News during the graduation season that profiles people who have inspiring stories to tell about the degree they are about to receive.
  • May 12
    Ready for the Real World program at Amarillo Civic Center
    AISD juniors get training on what's going to face them in a little more than a year.
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Special Section
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Event at West Texas A&M University
  • Fall
    Discover College Day
    Fifth graders from area schools visit college campuses.
  • October 1
    Great Jobs Special Section
    Focusing on well paying jobs available in the area that people may not know about.
  • November 2
    Career Education Special Section
    Focusing on businesses and others in the community helping young people gain a career vision.
  • November
    Yes You Can Event
    Designed to help people gain information about the next level of education from GED to PhD. Date TBA.
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