An admirable group of local students who have dedicated their high school experiences to agriculture saw their hard work pay off Tuesday in the form of grants meant to further their educations, courtesy of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee during their annual luncheon at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds.
The event, now in its 19th year, awarded a total of $25,500 in scholarships to 23 students from Pitman, Turlock, Waterford, Turlock Christian, Hughson and Hilmar high schools.
Since the first Ag Scholarship Luncheon in 2001, the Ag Committee has awarded $327,100 in scholarship funds to 347 students, and has also provided $121,000 to the fairgrounds to promote public education in the area of agriculture.
The event has grown from raising just $5,000 in scholarship funds during its first year to now more than quadrupling that number annually, and the luncheon’s growth shows the importance of agriculture to the Turlock community, Ag Committee member Sharon Berry said.
“It wasn’t just Chamber members, it was a community event,” Berry said. “People are really anxious to help students going into ag as a profession — it might be a dairy person, it might be a kid who’s making equipment for ag. There are so many factors that go into what ag does.”
Tuesday’s Keynote Speaker was Dr. Robert Cherenson of Lander Veterinary Clinic, who reminded students to make sure whatever path they choose as a career it is something they’re passionate about, rather than just a job.
The Ag Committee also awarded the fourth annual Jim Booth Memorial Scholarships in the amount of $2,500 each to Hilmar High School student Landon Rocha and Pitman High School student Margaret Creighton. The memorial scholarship was created after Booth, a founding member of the Ag Committee, passed away in May 2015. The award recipients are chosen by Booth’s family, who select students that exemplify attributes that were most important to the scholarship’s namesake — leadership, teamwork, follow through, self-confidence, honest and integrity.
AG SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS
Hilmar High School
Hughson High School
Pitman High School
Turlock Christian High School
Turlock High School
Waterford High School