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Commissioner Miller Honors High School Student for Outstanding Achievement (5/18/2015)

AUSTIN - Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is pleased to honor Shannon Cifuentes, a senior from James Bowie High School in Arlington, Texas, as the winner of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s monthly GROW award. The award Gives Recognition for Outstanding Work to middle and high school students who demonstrate leadership and excellence inside and outside the classroom.

“I have to tip my hat to Shannon for earning this month’s GROW award,” Commissioner Miller said. “Thanks to young leaders like Shannon the future of Texas looks brighter than ever. I couldn’t be more proud to honor Shannon, as she symbolizes everything I look for in a great leader — a strong work ethic, dedication to community and family, and a can-do attitude.”

Shannon was chosen from hundreds of Texas students for demonstrating leadership in her school activities, as well as her commitment to community service. In the classroom, Shannon has challenged herself with a variety of Pre-AP and AP courses throughout her high school career. She has an 11.87 GPA out of a 12 and is ranked No. 52 out of her class of 658 students. Despite it being her senior year, Shannon has chosen to remain in rigorous courses and continued to succeed.

In addition to her academics, Shannon has been very involved in a variety of extracurricular activities throughout high school. On her resume is a long list of organizations she has belonged to including: the track and tennis teams, FFA, Cultural Club, Technology Club and Art Club. Due to her academic success and volunteer work, Shannon was selected for membership in the National Honor Society. In all of her endeavors, Shannon’s teachers note her willingness to step up and assist others whenever she can.

“Shannon is a strong student who challenges herself,” said Kelly Lugo, business education teacher at James Martin High School. “Shannon’s success in her rigorous courses, her involvement in extracurricular activities, her commitment to serving her community and her professional goals make her an excellent candidate the GROW award.”

As a member of FFA, Shannon received both the Green Hand Degree for FFA and the FFA State Pin in Nursery and Landscaping. She has earned awards at a variety of invitational competitions and served on the FFA nursery and landscaping team.

Shannon also makes it a priority to serve her community. She has volunteered for the Children’s Miracle Network, Meals on Wheels and Red Cross. Additionally, Shannon volunteers in her community through school clubs and the FFA Booster Club.

Somehow, Shannon also finds time to work part-time in her family’s construction business. Through this, she is learning a valuable trade, which she plans to utilize later in her career to start her own business.

“In honor of receiving this reward, I would like to thank the people who brought me here today,” said Shannon. “Without the guidance of my close friend, Beatrice, I wouldn’t have discovered my passion for agriculture. Being involved in FFA has broadened my knowledge about becoming a veterinarian and my future plans of having my own landscaping and nursery business. When my team reached fifth place in the state at an FFA competition, I realized I can do anything through determination. Getting involved in the National Honor Society and Key Club also helped build my understanding that giving a helping hand to others can really change one’s day for the better. Lastly, I want to thank my family for their support and motivation, as it has taught me to never give up no matter the circumstances. Through this, I have been able to create a strong foundation for what the world of agriculture will bring me.”

Shannon is set to attend Texas A&M University in the fall on a Region Scholarship. She will study to become a veterinarian. Additionally, she hopes to one day own her own landscaping company.

For more on Shannon’s accomplishments, click here. The Texas Department of Agriculture established the GROW award to celebrate outstanding student leaders who demonstrate excellence in either their academic or extracurricular activities. Students can be nominated by community leaders such as teachers, coaches, school administrators, mayors, county judges or anyone else committed to recognizing youth leadership and achievement.

Between October and May each year, TDA selects one Texas student per month to receive the GROW award. Our next award will be given out in October 2015. Nominations will be due by Oct. 1, 2015. More information will be available in the fall. To learn more about GROW, click here