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Pig passion pays off
Grad garners 3 scholarships via crittersBy 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.
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