Montana State University

Twelve youth receive scholarships at 4-H Congress

July 22, 2009 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
Bozeman -- Twelve Montana youth were awarded scholarships during the 79th annual Montana 4-H Congress at Montana State University July 7-10.

About 400 4-H members attended Congress from 42 Montana counties, said Brett Schomer, 4-H program and events coordinator at MSU. County Extension staff and nearly 100 volunteers helped with a myriad of youth activities during the three-day event.

Youth participated in project demonstrations, social events and community service activities. They helped the Operation Military Kids Program, a project of MSU Extension and 4-H, by stuffing 300 Hero Pack backpacks with items and a letter of gratitude for Montana children with deployed relatives.

Receiving scholarships through the Montana 4-H Foundation:

Cord Blanchard, Great Falls
Brad Duncan, Joplin
Siobhan Flynn, Townsend
Beau Gibbs, Fallon
Devan Leo, Ennis
Brock Linker, Coffee Creek
Samantha Middlestead, Helena
Brianna Niehoff, Montana City
Derik Singleton, Miles City
Alissa Stabler, Miles City
Caitlin Sterchi, Whitefish
Melisa Stilson, Lewistown

Flynn received the $500 Douglas Dear Memorial Scholarship, awarded to an individual who has excelled in the horse project. She graduated from Broadwater County High School in Townsend with a 4.0 grade point average (GPA). She serves on the state 4-H horse committee and participated in training for equine therapy volunteers. She was captain of the volleyball and basketball teams, helping lead her volleyball team to the state title in 2008. Flynn plans to attend Carroll College or Rocky Mountain College to major in equine therapy.

Gibbs won the Wilcox Family Scholarship for $500. He maintained a 4.0 GPA at Dawson County High School in Glendive. An active and accomplished musician, he was also a member of the Montana State Academic Challenge champion team. He believes that 4-H taught him to lead by example and that showing dedication and selflessness may teach others to follow his lead. His future plans include music and a mechanical engineering degree.

Leo's $500 scholarship was provided by the Montana 4-H Foundation. She maintained a 3.16 GPA at Ennis High School and plans to attend Northwest College in Powell, Wyo., to study equine science and graphic design. Her sheep and rabbit projects have grown into businesses and she plans to market her lambs online to other 4-Hers. She is a senior county ambassador and attended and presented at leader's training at the county, district and state levels.

Blanchard received a $750 scholarship from the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee. He is a 10-year 4-H member and was in a variety of wheat projects in addition to foods and nutrition, sewing, plant science, shooting sports and others. Blanchard taught six-to nine-year-olds how wheat grows and the steps to make it into bread. Blanchard was home-schooled, graduating with a 3.86 GPA. He plans to attend MSU Northern and major in business administration.

Linker also received a $750 scholarship from the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee. After eight years in the crop science project, he is using GPS-linked yield data and satellite imagery to set up nutrient management zones for his crops. He made his own soil moisture probe and planted and harvested a 40 acre field of spring wheat. Linker is a graduate of Denton High School with a 3.4 GPA. He plans to attend MSU and major in horticulture landscape design.

Niehoff, Middlestead, Singleton, Stabler and Sterchi each received a $500 scholarship from Murdoch's Ranch and Home Supply.

Niehoff maintained a 3.98 GPA at Helena High School and plans to attend Carroll College. She is thankful for the volunteer opportunities 4-H provided her, including sewing stockings for servicemen and giving Christmas gifts to nursing home residents. She participated in shooting sports, foods and wildlife during her eight years in 4-H.

Middlestead graduated from Helena Capital High School, where she maintained a 3.88 GPA. Middlestead says her favorite time of year is the summer when she leads dog washes at Murdoch's. She likes working for a good cause and alleviating "stinky dogs" in the community. She is devoted to the 4-H dog project and beef breeding projects. She plans to attend MSU.

Singleton graduated from Custer County High School with a 3.47 GPA. He excelled in football and wrestling while concentrating on the market hog and market beef projects for several years in 4-H. He enjoys helping youth as well as his community and is an active volunteer with Key Club, FFA, and 4-H.

Stabler maintained a 3.85 GPA at Custer County High School in Miles City and plans to attend MSU. In 4-H, she completed the horsemanship, cattle and quilting projects and served as president, vice-president and treasurer of her club. She loves to sing and interact with children.

Sterchi graduated with a 3.6 GPA from Whitefish High School. She completed the five-year colt-to-maturity program in 4-H and taught classes at 4-H horse camp. She served as treasurer, vice-president and president of her club. Her community service efforts include making community dinners at church, taking animals to visit seniors, and highway cleanup. She plans to attend Flathead Valley Community College.

Duncan and Stilson each received a $500 scholarship from the Montana Meat Processors Association.

Duncan was home-schooled with a 3.03 GPA. In 10 years of 4-H, he has been involved in the market lamb, beef and swine projects, raising several animals to learn more about marketing and carcass evaluation. He provided leadership within his club, and at the county and state level. Duncan plans to attend Dawson Community College in Glendive to study agricultural business and plans to complete his bachelor's degree at MSU.

Stilson is a graduate of Fergus High School in Lewistown and maintained a 3.9 GPA while participating in golf, track, band, Key Club and FFA. She helped coordinate blood drives for National Honor Society. In her 10 years in 4-H, she enjoyed raising pigs for market sale at the county fair. She plans to attend the University of Idaho to study biology and animal science.

Contact: Martha Klaumann, (406) 994-5911,