Monday, the Kershaw County Master Gardeners (KCMG) did something it hasn’t been able to do in five years: hand out two $1,000 scholarships -- both to deserving graduating high school seniors who plan to pursue studies in agriculture, horticulture or forestry sciences.
“Thanks to a seminar we attended earlier this year and our plant sale, we made enough money to give out these scholarships again,” KCMG President Barbara Willens said during a brief ceremony at the FCL Building in downtown Camden.
The first scholarship went to Megan Santoro, who graduated from Camden High School on June 1 and will attend the University of South Carolina in the fall.
“She was also our intern this year at the Clemson Extension Service,” Willens noted.
Santoro is the vice president of the local Future Farmers of America and a member of 4-H. She is also an honors student who completed classes that directed her interest in environmental sciences. Those classes included agricultural science and technology, agricultural mechanics and technology, agricultural food and natural resources, environmental and natural resources management, and wildlife management.
Next, Willens called on Blake Johnson, who graduated June 1 from North Central High School and has been accepted to Horry-Georgetown Technical College as a forestry management tech/wildlife management major. He, too, is an honors student, and helped mentor freshmen at North Central. During high school, he completed turf and lawn management, sports turf management, agricultural and technology, and introduction to horticulture, all while completing honors courses in English, algebra and other subjects.
“We wish Blake and Megan a wonderful start to their college life and hope they attain their career goals,” Willens said.
Willens said that Blake and Megan are eligible for future awards and can reapply for the scholarships while in college as former high school winners.
To be considered for the scholarships, students must complete an application and submit a certified record of high school or college grades; two letters of reference from people not related to them; proof of acceptance to a technical school, college or university or a list of pending applications; a typed essay focusing on why the student has a passion to make a difference in agriculture, horticulture or forestry, and projecting what their impact could be in five to 10 years; and proof of a minimum 3.0 grade point average, or a 2.5 GPA accompanied by a letter of recommendation from a teacher or other school official.