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Valencia County Master Gardeners present four scholarshipsValencia County Master Gardeners present $1,000 scholarships to four Valencia County graduating high school seniors.

  • By Jane Moorman
  • 505-249-0527
Three women and a man behind two giant checks
LOS LUNAS – Four Valencia County high school seniors are recipients of this year’s Valencia County Extension Master Gardeners Scholarship. The volunteer organization expanded the number of scholarships from one in its inaugural awarding last year to four this year. Funding for the scholarship is raised through plant sales and other fundraising activities by the Valencia County Master Gardeners, a program administered by New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service. The recipients are graduating seniors who were enrolled in either 4-H or FFA in Valencia County. They will be pursuing a degree in an agricultural or horticultural field at a New Mexico college or university. “The Master Gardener program and Cooperative Extension Service are about improving our community,” said Newt McCarty, NMSU Valencia County Extension agricultural agent. “We have amazing youth in our county, and this is a small sampling of that talent.” Receiving the $1,000 scholarship are Avery Miller and Amanda Ahlgrim, of Valencia High School, and Samantha Padilla and Casey Canon, of Belen High School. They all plan to attend New Mexico State University and pursue a degree related to agriculture. “What’s so great is that these seniors not only desire to have a positive impact in agriculture, but they want to have that same impact in their community,” McCarty said. “These are some of our future leaders, and I am excited to watch them grow into those roles.” “It’s important to help our kids get more education and to encourage them to do so,” said retired educator and Master Gardener Dan Garrison, coordinator of the scholarship program. “We thank the community for being very supportive of our efforts to recognize the study and hard work of these deserving young people.” Miller has participated in 4-H for six years and FFA for four years. He has served as an FFA officer at the chapter and district level. “Participating in 4-H and FFA helped me to overcome my shyness,” Miller said. “Through public speaking and attending leadership camp, I started opening up and talking to people better.” He plans to major in agricultural and extension education at NMSU. “I hope to teach students the importance of all levels of agriculture and issues with regards to growing our food while using environmentally sound farming techniques,” he said in his scholarship application. Ahlgrim has been a member of 4-H for 10 years and FFA throughout high school. She has served as president of her 4-H Club, Bait, Bullets & Bows, and has served on the 4-H County Council. She has also been the treasurer of the Valencia FFA chapter. “4-H and FFA have given me knowledge and skills to set and pursue career goals,” Ahlgrim said. “I have learned how to create goals and achieve them.” Ahlgrim will begin working toward her career goals of being a large- and small-animal veterinarian by majoring in animal science at NMSU this fall. “I want to have a job where I have the unique opportunity to help the agricultural community, especially young FFA and 4-H members, by providing affordable care for their animals,” Ahlgrim said in her scholarship application. Padilla has been a member of 4-H for five years and FFA all through high school, where she was Green Hand treasurer and recipient of chapter and state awards. The National Honor Society and Society of High School Scholars member also participated in MESA – Mathematics, Engineering Science Achievement – and Sandia National Laboratories Dream Catcher Program. “I have learned the importance of community involvement as a member of FFA and Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church,” Padilla said. “I enjoy working with children.” Padilla will pursue a degree in civil and agricultural engineering. “Engineering fits into everything that we use in our lives,” she said in her scholarship application. “Living on a working farm, I’ve designed and fabricated feeding containers for cattle, tackle boxes and tractor implements. With this career, I will be able to create and design many items that will fit the needs of our society.” Canon has been a member of 4-H for 12 years and FFA throughout high school, where she received honors at each level of the programs. “I have received a lot of leadership experience through 4-H and FFA,” she said. “I have learned the true meaning of being a leader is helping other people.” Canon will major in agricultural business and economics at NMSU. She aspires to be an attorney specializing in agricultural issues. “After receiving my bachelor’s degree from NMSU, I want to work for Farm Credit of New Mexico and help agricultural producers achieve their goals,” she said in her scholarship application. “I also want to help the general public understand that agriculture is a part of everyone’s life.”