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College scholarships go to outstanding 4-H members

It’s almost graduation season for our La Plata County high school 4-H members, which means we have the honor of awarding three $650 Higher Education Scholarships to our exceptional members who are graduating from high school and continuing their education in the fall.

These students have been youth leaders in our 4-H community for many years, and we are delighted to reward their mentorship to younger club members and their dedication to their clubs. We were so lucky to have had each one in our program for so many years and will greatly miss them.

Our first award recipient is our outdoor enthusiast, Vinny Lopez. Vinny has been a part of La Plata County 4-H for 11 years. During this time, he has raised and shown goats, built robots and rockets and created beautiful art with his welding project. Vinny is going to Metropolitan State University of Denver to become an engineer. When asked about his experience in 4-H he said, “Through 4-H, I learned how to be an effective leader, complete projects in a timely manner and socialize with people from different cultures and backgrounds. The skills I learned in 4-H are ones I use each and every day to improve the lives of people in my club, my community, my country and my world!”

Our second award goes to the right guy, Guy Wright. Guy has been a part of La Plata County 4-H for nine years. During his time, he has excelled at shooting sports, qualifying to compete at the national level on our Colorado State Shooting Sport Team, and raised and shown beef. Guy is also a senior member of our very successful livestock judging team. During his time on the judging team, they have qualified for many state and national contests and an international contest in Scotland. Livestock judging takes dedication, focus and in-depth knowledge of livestock. Guy will be getting a degree in ag business and economics at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas and will be a member of their livestock judging team. I know he will be an asset to their team; they are lucky to have him.

Our third award recipient is a kind and powerful young lady, Shaylee Owen. Shaylee has been a part of La Plata County 4-H for 10 years and has been very active in, well, everything. Shaylee has raised and shown goats, sheep, swine, beef and poultry and has been a club officer almost every year during her 4-H career, as well as participated in every leadership opportunity 4-H offers. Shaylee is an amazing leader and mentor for our younger 4-H members and goes out of her way to help others. She is a passionate advocate for mental health, suicide prevention and awareness and is a founding member of CODY (Community Overcoming Depressed Youth) Project.

As her final project this year, Shaylee is putting on a Livestock Camp at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. It will be a week of species-specific clinics about general care, show preparation and showmanship skills with clinicians from all over the country. The camp is expected to have 100 participants and will end with a jackpot to show off their new skills. In the fall, Shaylee will be studying agriculture education and extension at New Mexico State University.

I am so very proud of Vinny, Guy and Shaylee in all of their accomplishments, and I am honored to have been able to watch them grow and become the amazing people they are today. Graduating from high school and the 4-H program is the end of one chapter and the beginning of the rest of their lives. I know they will do great things, and I cannot wait to see what their futures hold.

Thank you to our amazing community members for their support, which gives us the ability to offer these scholarships to our outstanding youths. If you would like to support La Plata County 4-H, contact the Extension Office.

Angela Fountain is the La Plata County 4-H youth development agent. Reach her at angela.fountain@co.laplata.co.us or 382-6460.