Six Parker County 4-Hers recently got a kick-start to their futures receiving scholarships from the parent leader association.
“The Parker County 4-H Parent Leader’s Association Scholarship was established by the parents and leaders of Parker County six years ago as a way to reward outstanding commitment, dedication and positive role models of our youth program,” Parker County Extension Agent for 4-H and Youth Development Kayla Neill said. “These scholarships may be used by recipients planning to attend university, community college, trade school or technical school. This was a record year for our scholarships and we are so very pleased to announce that $41,000 was awarded by the Parker County 4-H Parent Leader’s Association to six deserving 4-Hers.”
Maci Wisdom was awarded a $10,000 scholarship and will be off to Texas Tech University to pursue a degree in animal science with a pre-med science concentration this month.
“We’ve done a lot with Parker County in our fundraiser over the years so it was one of those things where you don’t think it’s ever going to happen to you until you actually get the call. When Kayla called me and told me I got the scholarship it took me about 30 minutes for it to actually don on me just how much money that actually was and how much it was really going to help us out,” Wisdom said. “My entire family was just completely shocked. I’ve been in 4-H for the past 10 years and have seen a lot of kids get that scholarship, so to be one of those kids and finally have something that stands for all the hard work and dedication that we’ve all put in throughout the years was just really meaningful for me and my family.”
Wisdom said it’s bittersweet to think about moving on from Parker County 4-H, where she’s shown goats and sheep for the past 10 years.
“It’s really been all that I’ve ever done. When people ask me about myself or what I like to do, 4-H has really just been it. I played volleyball for a while, but quit to focus on 4-H and take on some state-level leadership opportunities,” Wisdom said. “It’s mixed emotions because I know I’m going to miss it and I care so strongly for the people that are involved in Parker County 4-H so I’m going to miss them and the opportunities it’s provided me, but I also know that I’ve experienced some incredible things and I’ve learned a lot of life lessons that will benefit me really far into the future. So I’m confident that 4-H has prepared me to go on to bigger and better things, but it’s going to hurt a little bit.”
Mackenzie Jones, a Millsap High School graduate, was awarded a $10,000 scholarship and will be attending West Texas A&M University to study physical education.
“Just knowing all of the scholarship winners worked really hard throughout our entire 4-H career and being able to get that scholarship was pretty cool. I loved all of it — over the years getting to help everyone — and 4-H, in general, has been a big part of my life so pretty amazing,” Jones said. “I started 4-H when I was in kindergarten and I showed turkeys and goats and then when I was in third grade I started doing cattle. I grew up on an Angus ranch in Weatherford and so I’ve been showing cattle for about 10 years and love 4-H, love everything about it. I really like how when you go to stock shows you always know someone and you can always make friends wherever you go — I’m a very outgoing person.”
Joshua Kingston, a graduate of Peaster High School, received a $4,000 scholarship and will be attending Texas A&M University to study sports management in the fall.
“I was super stoked, really excited and it was a sense of accomplishment I guess you could say,” Kingston said. “What I enjoy in 4-H the most is probably the friendships. You make a lot of friends. I show goats, lambs and rabbits up until eighth grade and then I moved into the city and in high school years, I did more judging and focused a lot of leadership skills because I was an ambassador for Parker County. I’m going to miss the fun and the excitement that goes along with it.”
Caroline Sexton was awarded a $6,000 scholarship and will be attending the University of Texas at Arlington to study mathematics and become a teacher.
“I have actually been involved in Parker County 4-H for 10 years, I have done numerous things ranging from being a Parker County leadership ambassador to volunteering to help teach various projects, so I think receiving this scholarship was something that really fulfilled one of my dreams,” Sexton said. “It was rewarding to have spent so much time in this organization and learn so much and then at the end to get something that will help benefit my future and help me achieve my goals.”
Sexton said she will miss the friendships she’s made in 4-H as well as the learning opportunities.
“I’ll still learn new things, but 4-H has a way of presenting it that’s just really fun for me,” Sexton said. “Creating relationships and learning with the people that I most enjoy being around is something that I think I will miss the most about Parker County 4-H.”
Breck Spikes has been in Parker County 4-H for nine years and received a $7,000 scholarship.
“I was very shocked, I was not expecting that much. I’ve shown market broilers for the past seven years, I’ve shown market goats for the past two years, I compete in livestock judging and meats judging and multiple other competitions,” Spikes said. “I have been a Parker County 4-H ambassador for the past three years and I’ve also held multiple club officer positions.”
Spikes will be attending Tarrant County College to study welding technology and said he will miss competing in 4-H.
“Going to livestock shows and competitions are probably what I’ll miss the most,” Spikes said. “At the Parker County Livestock Show I won senior market poultry showmanship two years in a row so that was a huge accomplishment for me.”
Peaster High School graduate Nicholas Withaeger was awarded a $4,000 scholarship and will be attending Texas A&M University to study animal science.
“[The scholarship] feels really great because it showed that a whole bunch of my 4-H work I did throughout the years was recognized and that I could help the younger 4-Hers become better individuals whenever they get into their high school years and throughout their college life,” Withaeger said. “After I get a degree in animal science, I want to become a veterinarian and apply at a college of veterinary medicine.”
Withaeger said one of the things he will miss most throughout his six years in 4-H is his involvement in projects, especially shooting sports.
“One of my favorite memories from 4-H would probably be during the 4-H extravaganzas at the beginning of the year where I can teach new members about 4-H and the different projects that we get involved in,” Withaeger said.
Neill said Parker County 4-H members have to work hard for the scholarships.
“You are not going to receive a scholarship just because you are a member of Parker County 4-H; you’re going to receive a scholarship because you are a member of Parker County 4-H that has exhibited outstanding commitment, outstanding dedication and has worked hard to be a positive role model for not only club members, for everyone,” Neill said. “Countless hours go into planning our annual Parker County 4-H Cash for Clovers Scholarship Fundraiser and the generous donations and support received from our Parker County residents make us take these scholarships very seriously. Parker County 4-H could not award scholarships at this level without the support of our local businesses and community members and we are so very grateful for [them] all.”
The scholarship recipients said the COVID-19 pandemic did affect some of their events at the end of the school year as well as the summer, but also friendships.
“The week we let out for spring break we didn’t end up going back to school at all and ended up finishing up the school year at home, so emotionally it was exciting not to go back to school but at the end was sad because we missed out on seeing all of our friends for the last time,” Kingston said. “We didn’t know we would be seeing them for the last time that one Friday before spring break.”
Neill said it has been a privilege serving as the 4-H members’ extension agent.
“I can assure everyone that has supported the Parker County 4-H program scholarship efforts, that these young people are tremendous leaders and will do great things,” Neill said.