Cass County 4-H encourages seniors to apply for scholarship

CASSOPOLIS — Cass County 4-H youth still have time to apply for a scholarship that could give them a leg up in their post-secondary education.

The application deadline for the Cass County 4-H Leaders Association’s Senior Scholarship is 5 p.m. Feb. 5. The $500 scholarship is awarded to two area seniors graduating in 2021 who are planning to continue onto post-secondary education. Applications must have taken part in Cass County 4-H for five or more years.

“This is for 4-H youth who are going on to some form of post-secondary education, whether that is a trade school, community college or a big university,” said Cass County 4-H Program Coordinator Hailey Harman. “The scholarship is paid directly to the kid, instead of going to the school.”

Harman said the scholarship is an extension of Michigan 4-H’s educational programming and that Cass County 4-H has always been dedicated to promoting education to its youth.

In fact, according to a 2014 study from Michigan State University Extension, Michigan 4-H youth are nearly twice as likely to enroll in college than the same-age Michigan population.

In addition to being a product of Cass County 4-H’s dedication to education, Harman said the scholarship was a way for the program to give back to its student participants.

“Our youth give so much every year on their own. They give back to our community with community service and helping in their clubs and with younger youth by being mentors,” Harman said. “I think this is a great way to send them off and say, ‘Thank you for everything you have done for our program.’ They have given so much to our program. Some of our kids have been in the program for 15 years, so that’s a lot of time they have spent giving back. [The scholarship] is one way for our program to congratulate them on graduating high school as well as starting them off a great foot in their post-secondary education.”

Harman said she would encourage any qualifying 4-H youth to apply for the scholarship.

“Absolutely apply,” she said. “Even if you haven’t been in 4-H for very long, and they don’t think they will stand up to the other students who have been in the program for 14 years, I still think they should absolutely apply. Sometimes, it is less about how long someone has been involved, but more about the impact they have made while involved.”

Typically, scholarship winners would be recognized during Cass County 4-H’s annual awards ceremony in April. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Harman said this year’s scholarship winners would be announced on social media and in its newsletter.

Students can apply for the scholarship on the Cass County 4-H website, canr.msu.edu/cass/4-h, or by emailing Harman at harmanha@msu.edu.

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