Several local students were awarded scholarships towards their educational pursuits during a recent meeting of the Stettler Rotary Club.
The recipients included Cooper Resch, Daniel Brown, Esther Nooijen and Rachael Deaver.
Resch’s scholarship was presented by Rob McDonald from Central Alberta Co-op. Brown received his from Eric Ulveland of MNP; while Nooijen was awarded her scholarship by Angela Simpson of RBC Royal Bank.
Finally, Deaver was presented her scholarship by Dr. Barbara Munholland of the Stettler Veterinary Clinic.
Each scholarship is valued at $1,000.
According to the Rotary Club, “These students will ultimately make a difference in the agriculture community where ever their paths take them. They are remarkable young people who do well in their academics but also every one of them has spent time volunteering. They exemplify Rotary’s philosophy of ‘Service Above Self’.”
“I want to thank you all for inviting me to this luncheon, and for taking the time to learn about my goals and the path that I’m currently on,” said Nooijen, who is studying nutrition and food science at the University of Alberta.
“My decision to pursue this degree was heavily influenced by my interest in both food science and people,” she explained.
“One of my first most memorable experiences with food was when my family and I were helping out on a farm near Lacombe. I got to help the lovely lady in the kitchen make supper, for all 30 helpers. When it came time for everyone to come in and eat, I felt quite proud that I had helped, although I had more watched the lady,” she added with a laugh.
But the experience had an impact, showing her how powerful food can be in building both connections and memories.
“With my degree in nutrition and food science, and my minor in human ecology, I plan on continuing this path into community nutrition,” she explained, pointing out that she wants to teach about food budgeting, preparation, healthy eating and how to include everyone – even the kids – in planning the family meal.
“Thank you for choosing me as one of the recipients for the scholarship, and for helping me to pursue my goals in the food industry and ultimately the agricultural industry.”
Deaver pointed out that she felt very fortunate to be at the meeting, and honoured to be receiving the scholarship.
“Thank you to everyone who made this possible,” she said, adding that she has been involved in agriculture from a very young age, including care for animals such as horses and cattle.
“As I grew older, I jumped on every opportunity to learn and gain as much experience with animals as I could – whether it was going with neighbours to do farm chores or going to help brand calves,” she said.
Volunteer work has included everything from local 4-H to the Stettler Veterinary Clinic. “That’s where I developed my passion for veterinary medicine,” she explained, adding how grateful she is to Dr. Barbara Munholland of the Clinic.
“I spent so many summers there – we have a long history.”
Deaver is working on her Bachelor of Science in Animal Health at the University of Alberta, with the goal of ultimately becoming a veterinarian. “I want to say a huge thank-you to the Stettler Rotary Club for choosing me as a recipient of this scholarship.”
Resch said that he comes from a very agriculturally-centred background, which includes everything from attending rodeos to farm fairs; “You name it – anything with livestock. We’ve always been involved with that.”
He has pursued studies at Lakeland College in Vermilion as well as pursuing his dreams of competing in the rodeo circuit.
“I am also taking my electrical trade, and hope to be a red seal after four years,” he said. “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who made this possible.
“This helps enormously. Your help goes beyond what you can know, so thank you very much.”
Brown explained that he is enrolled at Olds College in the Agricultural Management Program, and that he lives on the family farm south of Stettler.
“We have a mixed cattle and grain operation between Big Valley and Byemoor, and my family has raised purebred limousin cattle since the early 1970s, and we grow a variety of crops such as hay, oats, wheat, canola, barley and in recent years also corn,” he said.
“I am very involved in all operations of my family’s farm,” he said, adding that it’s truly a family affair in every way.
“Upon completion of my academic studies, I intend to return to the family farm as a fifth-generation agricultural producer. I intend to apply the knowledge I am learning at school to improve efficiency and sustainability with the agricultural practices that we use on our farm as well as to continue to move the farm forward to embrace innovations in the 21st century.
“I am very grateful to have been chosen to receive this scholarship, and I will put it directly to subsidizing my educational costs.”