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Kroupa scales the heights in FFA

Staff writer

Some people aren’t satisfied until they reach their highest potential. Raleigh Kroupa of Marion is one of those. He worked through high school and beyond to earn the highest degree the National FFA organization has to offer.

On Oct. 22, he was awarded the American FFA Degree at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. Less than half of 1 percent of members achieve it.

He said being recognized on stage was a proud moment.

“I felt it was quite an accomplishment,” he said, “but I realized it was the last time I got to wear that corduroy blue jacket.”

Forty-two Kansas FFA members received the award. Not all were at the convention, but Kroupa said they felt like family because of all the FFA competitions and activities they had shared while in high school.

“You got to know them pretty well,” he said. “We all were pursuing the same goal.”

Kroupa, a son of William and Linda Kroupa of Marion and a 2015 Marion/Florence High School graduate, was president of the FFA chapter as a senior. He received the State FFA Degree that year for his supervised agricultural experience in diversified crop proficiency. He also excelled academically.

To earn the American FFA Degree, he was required to demonstrate earnings and productive investments of $10,000 from his agricultural experience and complete 50 hours of community service.

For three years beginning the spring of 2013, Kroupa leased 90 acres of land from his parents for a farming and haying operation.

He said he got started using money he had earned from raising and selling a few calves. The income from each year’s farm operation paid for the expenses of the next year.

Kroupa kept detailed records of every aspect of the operation including investments in seed, twine, fertilizer, spray, and fuel. He used his parents’ machinery in exchange for helping them on the farm.

He volunteered labor at his church and was a member of the construction class at Marion High School that reroofed a house and put a roof on a new building in the park.

Kroupa said working toward the top FFA award was a challenge.

“It was taking steps toward a goal,” he said. “You went step by step. It will look good on my resume.”

He credits his parents and FFA adviser Mark Meyer for pushing him and helping him to fulfill requirements.

“I couldn’t have done it without their help,” he said. “They made sure I did the paperwork and made deadlines.”

Besides continuing to farm with his parents, Kroupa is pursuing a degree in land surveying.

“My uncle is a land surveyor, and I learned that there are not many around,” he said. “Most are older and will be retiring.”

He attended Butler Community College for a year and is finishing a two-year course online through Oklahoma State University after Butler shut down the program.

After he gets his degree, he will be required to work six years with a land surveyor before he can get a license to operate independently.

Last modified Nov. 2, 2016

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