The 3 4-h scholarship winners
Image by Left photo by Veronica Chewens Photography

​Teens Awarded 4-H College Scholarships

4-H club members Aizlyn O’Connell and Hunter Gardner are the recipients of $250 4-H college scholarships presented by the 4-H Youth Development Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties. They were chosen on the merit of their applications which described the breadth of their involvement in 4-H projects and activities, what they had gained most from their experiences in 4-H and how those experiences will help them in the future.

Aizlyn is the daughter of James and Megan O’Connell and lives in Catskill. She attends Catskill High School and plans to attend Norwich University where she plans to study psychology.

Aizlyn is a ten-year member of the Flora and Fauna 4-H Club as well as a six year member of the Teen Ambassador 4-H Club. She has excelled in a number of project areas including foods and nutrition, expressive arts and rabbit. But, Aizlyn finds the leadership roles she has held as most meaningful. She is trained as a 4-H Teen Evaluator for both public presentations and fair exhibits. She absolutely loves to share what she knows through public speaking and has done so for ten years in a row! She is also a junior leader in her 4-H club where she helps the younger members as their work on their project learning.

She notes that, “a life lesson I have learned through my 4-H club experience is the ability to adapt and overcome. Also, sportsmanship is crucial in life even if you lose you pick your head up and cheer for the one who beat you.”

Hunter is the son of James and Sandra Gardner and lives in Hillsdale. He attends Taconic Hills High School and will be attending the University at Albany this fall, studying in either business or education.

Hunter has been an active member of 4-H since he was seven years old and has done so in three different counties of New York. Locally he has been a member of the Teen Ambassadors 4-H Club for six years. As a 4-H member he has done many public presentations, most related to a project he is learning from such as how to make peanut butter cookies or how to show a dairy cow.

Hunter has been active in leadership experiences with a final pinnacle as a Focus Assistant at the statewide Cornell Career Explorations trip in 2019.

Among other things, Hunter shared that “what I have learned most during my time in 4-H is the importance of community service….it improves not only the lives of others, but it improved my life as well. Also, as a naturally shy person my experiences in 4-H helped me to develop social and leadership skills. I was chosen as a CareerEx Focus Assistant so was the person who had to initiate the conversations and lead the groups.”

The Trowbridge 4-H Livestock Scholarship honors the hard work and dedication of Phil and Annie Trowbridge to the livestock industry and their commitment to the 4-H livestock program. In addition to the general criteria above, 4-H member recipients must have participated in the 4-H Livestock Sale held during the Columbia County Fair at least two years. Brendan Ooms is the recipient of this $250 scholarship.

Brendan is the son of Timothy and Kristine Ooms and lives on a farm outside of Valatie. He graduated from Chatham High School last year and plans to pursue his interest in agriculture.

Brendan has been a 4-H member for 12+ years, most recently in the Farm Friends 4-H Club. He has immersed himself in the animal science project area, raising dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep and swine. His participation in the market animal project has found him in the ring several times for the 4-H Livestock Sale.

Brendan’s love of dairy cattle can be seen by his all-encompassing involvement in the project. He has annually participated in dairy bowl and was a member of both the NYS Beginning Dairy Leaders Program and the NYS Dairy Leaders Program.

Brendan describes his involvement in his livestock projects as teaching him many valuable lessons, such as that a lot of time and commitment are needed to raise a marketable livestock animal. And, that patience and determination are needed to teach these animals to lead properly in the show ring. Brendan has also learned the importance of understanding the economics and the cost of raising an animal.

June 11, 2020

Last updated June 11, 2020