The future is waiting, and Illinois 4-H is helping young people arrive empowered and prepared for success in the future of their choosing.
Each year, Illinois 4-H members receive more than $225,000 in college scholarships from local Extension 4-H Foundations and partners across the state. In addition, the Illinois 4-H Foundation awards another $50,000 more in college scholarship to young people whose 4-H accomplishments have earned them top awards.
From bake sales and pork chop dinners, to endowments and memorials, these $275,000 private donor scholarships are changing the futures of Illinois 4-H members.
Many of the local scholarships honor longtime Extension staff and volunteers. The Eugene Mosbacher Educational Trust provides $9,000 in scholarship annually to McLean County 4-H members to honor the longtime local Extension crop adviser.
In Woodford County, a $500 annual scholarship honors Elaine Smillie, who served as both youth advisor and unit leader. A skilled home economist, Smillie’s scholarship is awarded to 4-H members who excel in nutrition, health, or home and family project work.
Funds honoring Lucille and Lester Korsmeyer provide annual college scholarships for 4-H members living in Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair counties through their endowment with the Illinois 4-H Foundation. Lucille served as volunteer leader of the Alhambra Morning Glories 4-H Club for 60 years after completing 10 years as a club member.
Many scholarships have decades of giving history. The Bert Blood scholarship, established as a memorial to Albert M. Blood in 1972, has provided thousands in college scholarships to Rock Island County 4-H members.
4-H members also fare well in private scholarships sponsored by businesses and organizations whose applications are specifically designed for the type of excellence exhibited by Illinois 4-H members. Farm Credit Illinois, an Illinois 4-H Foundation partner, recently awarded 30 $2,000 to high school seniors, most who hold 4-H club memberships.
One of those recipients, Dillon White of Morgan County, will attend John Wood Community College. The 10-year 4-H member from Jacksonville has concentrated his 4-H work in ag-related projects, including, beef, swine, crops, and welding. He has also earned top prizes in livestock judging and shooting sports contests.
Noah Benedict, a 10-year Champaign County 4-H member received scholarships from Farm Credit Illinois and Farm Bureau. Noah is attending both Parkland College and University of Illinois as a Pathways student and will study agribusiness toward a future as a livestock nutrition salesman.
“Farm Credit Illinois is proud to provide positive opportunities and lend support to young people with a passion for agriculture,” says Rod Stoll, vice president of marketplace engagement for FCI. “These scholars will assume careers that shape the future of agriculture and rural America.
New in 2018, U of I College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences teamed with Illinois Extension to provide $115,000 to high school seniors and transfer students entering the College of ACES in the fall.
“The College of ACES takes pride in creating the 2018 Extension to ACES Scholarships to attract the best and brightest students from all parts of Illinois to our college. We have received tremendous interest from many students for these new scholarships, and we have selected outstanding admitted students to receive these scholarships this year,” says Prasanta Kalita, associate dean for academic programs in the college.
Fifteen of the 46 ACES scholarship winners are current 4-H members, including Emmarie Alexander of Belvidere, Duncan Bradshaw of New Salem, Mitchell Clodfelter of Sterling, Katelyn Eathington of Avon, Abigayle Endress of Pearl City, Margaret Furr of Shelbyville, Madelyn Heidtke of Woodstock, Devin Koester of Elizabeth, Gretchen Macklin of Findlay, Anna Mattern of Magnolia, Callie McClay of Oakdale, Kaitlyn Roley of Metamora, Alexis Ruemker of Columbia, Nicholas Torrance of Macomb, and Adam Yoder of Edinburg.
“Extension is at the core of how the University of Illinois shares knowledge and innovation with communities in this state, so working with the College of ACES to bring students to campus just makes sense,” said Dr. Shelly Nickols-Richardson, the interim director of Extension. “We’re proud to help make this world-class education accessible.”
“4-H is a place where every youth belongs and is encouraged to pursue individual dreams,” said Lisa Diaz, U of I Extension assistant dean and Illinois 4-H director. “Illinois 4-H has a dream for all Illinois youth to be empowered and prepared for success.”