Peaster High School alumna Natalie Smith will be able to pay for the remainder of her tuition at Tarleton State University after receiving an additional $16,000 scholarship from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Smith received a scholarship from the same entity in 2017 for $20,000, and in April, she applied for the Achievement Scholarship which is available to initial scholarship winners. The Achievement Scholarship takes into account grades, service projects and college life involvement as well as submitted essays, Smith said.
“It’s a huge blessing,” Smith said. “I was not expecting it. I applied for it, you never know if you’re going to get the scholarship or not because it’s not a guaranteed scholarship, so whenever I got the notification I was just dancing all around. I was super excited.”
Smith graduated from PHS in 2017 and had been enrolled in Peaster ISD schools since kindergarten. She was a member of Peaster ISD Future Farmers of America and showed sheep and goats.
Currently, Smith is working toward a bachelor’s degree of science in nursing, and she said she would like to work in the neonatal and labor delivery or geriatrics departments. She volunteers at TSU’s livestock invitational contest and said she gets to watch her hometown school compete.
“That’s been a big joy to get to help out with that,” Smith said.
Smith said being in Peaster FFA taught her more than any other organization in high school.
“FFA prepared me way more than just livestock showing,” Smith said. “It taught me how to be a proficient public speaker and to have leadership skills. Whenever I came to college, I was so much more prepared just having those responsibilities in high school whether it was showing or being in a public speaking position. I came to college very well-rounded.”
Smith also mentioned her appreciation for her teachers who had mentored her beyond the classroom.
Peaster agriculture teacher Brent Wicker said Smith contacted him when she got the news. Wicker praised Smith for being intelligent, sweet, responsible and always volunteering for more.
“She is just one of those exceptional kids that everybody hopes they get to teach a handful of those in their career,” Wicker said.
FFA gave Smith more opportunities to develop skills, such as character and compassion, and put them to use, as well as building on the values she had been taught at home, Wicker said.