WACO, Texas (KWTX) – Some local graduating seniors say college is more within reach thanks to being award scholarships in record-breaking fashion through the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo.
The organizers of the Central Texas fair awarded $250,000 in scholarships to 49 Texas students this past week, which included Faith Lauderdale from Midway High School, who received the Top Scholar and Board of Directors Scholarship in the amount of $25,000.
“College is expensive and I’m excited that I’ll be able to use this scholarship to pursue a career in agriculture,” Faith said.
Faith will attend McLennan Community College where she’s been chosen as a Presidential Scholar. She hopes to later attend Texas A&M to obtain a degree in agriculture.
Faith said getting a financial boost from a place near and dear to her heart means so much.
“My family has always grown up showing livestock and my mom did it and my grandpa did it, so it’s just family inherited,” Faith said. “I started with the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo by showing. When I was seven or eight, I did mutton bustin’ and then I just got involved with the Heart of Texas Junior Committee and just participated in it every year.”
Chloe McLellan of La Vega grew up on a farm and has been involved with the fair and rodeo since a young age.
Like Faith, she served on the Junior Committee, which helps those between the ages of 16-20 better understand how the large-scale event works and encourages volunteerism.
FULL INTERVIEW WITH TWO SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS:
Chloe said getting a $5,000 scholarship from the fair and rodeo will go along way as she continues her education at McMurray University in Abilene as a member of the track team.
“My dad started getting involved in the Heart of Texas and so did I,” Chloe said. “I started showing in the third grade and then I just worked my way up. I joined the Junior Committee with Faith. I was working the ring, check in and all that so I’ve been heavily involved ever since I was young.”
Wes Allison, President and CEO of the Extraco Events Center, says Faith and Chloe represent the best of the best.
“Those 49 students represent 26 counties across the state of Texas and so this is the best of the best and that’s really how that competition is,” Allison said. “When you have over 120 applicants vying for that, it’s a hard process and we talk about this being the cream of the crop and we always talk about in the fair about raising the standards and certainly these girls do this and represent a great class.”
The Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo started giving out scholarships in 1991.
The first year they awarded 19, $100 dollar scholarships which went to each high school in McLennan County.
The money raised through the non-profit has grown exponentially over the years.
The past year between the spring banquet and the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo, the non-profit awarded a record half a million dollars.
Students awarded this year attend schools at Axtell, Belton, Burton, China Spring, Clear Creek, College Station, Fairfield, Florence, Gatesville, Grandview, Groesbeck, Hill Country Christian, Hillsboro, Holland, James Madison, Lakeland Preparatory, La Vega, Lorena, Midway, Miles, Navasota, Normangee, Rapoport Academy, Rockdale, Rogers, Rosebud-Lott, St. Domonic Savio, Troy, University, Vanguard, West, and Windthorst High School.
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