The Fort Bend County Fair Association hosted its Scholarship Reception and presented 42 scholarships and five Queen scholarships to deserving recipients.
From the swing of the gate at the rodeo to the strike of the gavel at the auction, this is the one evening that over 50 committees made up of 1,300 plus volunteers work so purposely for to help shape the future. Forty-two scholarships, each valued at $4,000, were awarded to students representing schools and districts throughout Fort Bend County.
“It is so rewarding to give away these scholarships; we look so forward to watching these kids at their next level – at college- to see what they do in life. It is extremely rewarding and I couldn’t be happier to do what we do,” said Fort Bend County Fair President Ernest Lawson.
The recipients are set to pursue a wide range of higher educational paths. Agricultural degrees spanning from science to business, to finance and medical degrees, make up a few of the career choices of the recipients. Each of the scholarships were earned by individual students who shared the passion for continuing their education but were diverse on their journeys to obtain them. Several of the scholarships were awarded to lifelong Fair exhibitors, while others were earned by students who excelled outside of the show arena. The Fair’s scholarships are divided into several divisions: restrictive, non-restrictive, open, art, vocational, and Queen.
A Brazos High School senior, Taylor Hoelscher, is no stranger to the Fair. This scholarship recipient has been showing animals for the past six years.
“It means a lot every year coming to the Fair in September. All the hard work finally gets to pay off. Especially for how much it gives back to me, not only the auctions but all the committee members giving all their support, not only to me but my fellow competitors and friends as well,” said Taylor of being awarded a scholarship. “This scholarship really means everything; I mean all the hard work over the years, all the volunteer hours…the Fair gives back to me just as much as I like to give back to them. It has taught me a lot of dedication, responsibility, time management, and a lot of life skills. I plan to apply them to my life and not only the agricultural industry, and to whatever I am enduring.” Several scholarship winners began their journey half a world away. Parichehr Sadeghi from Iran and Marki Samuel, from Ethiopia; both immigrated to Texas. Both are students at Stafford High School. Parichehr an aspiring dermatologist who is University of Houston bound, has this to say about the scholarship, “I think it means a lot to me because I can help my parents financially and try to at least help them a little bit by paying for a small portion of it on my own.”
Marki who is planning to pursue a medical degree but is first Aggieland-bound said, “This scholarship means that I get the opportunity to go to the college – that I actually plan on going to and money would not hold me back from going to a college I wanted to go to.”
Scholarship recipient Caitlin Wesneski wants to be an agriculture teacher. Since the third grade, Caitlin has been showing animals at the Fort Bend County Fair. “I started showing chickens first, then eventually I wanted to show something bigger, so I showed pigs and then steers. By far pigs are my favorite,” said the 19-year-old Sam Houston State University student. Caitlin has come back to volunteer to help with the swine tag-in and show.
“The county Fair has done a lot for me throughout the years. This is the place that ‘built me’ – it molded me into the young adult that I am today,” she added. “It taught me hard work, dedication, responsibility, and more life lessons than I will ever be able to remember. I’d like to say thank you because without them (Fort Bend County Fair Association) this would not be possible and I would not be able to make my dreams come true.”
The scholarships are a result of money raised by the Fort Bend County Fair Association and its various committees’ fundraising efforts, and individual sponsors. The Go Tejano Committee, Life Member Silent Auction, Art Auction Committee, Grapes on the Brazos Committee and sponsors such as The Charlie Seely Memorial, Durwood Greene Construction, Kunz Farms, and McDonald’s have given back by generating or donating scholarship funds.
The 2017 Fort Bend County Fair will run from Sept. 29 to Oct. 8. For more information on the Fair’s scholarship program or schedule of events, visit fortbendcountfair.com or call the Fair Office at 281-342-6171.