For the first time ever, the Hopkins County/Madisonville Fair Board is offering a scholarship to help the youths of Hopkins County continue their education.
“This being the first year offering this and it is a learning process all around,” Byron Pruitt, vice president of the Hopkins County/Madisonville Fair Board, said. “We want to get more youth involved and this is a great way to do so.”
The winner of this year’s $500 Hopkins County Fair Scholarship is Madisonville resident/long time fair volunteer, Jack Wagoner. Wagoner had to apply and write an essay on how the fair impacts the youth in the community. His entry was chosen out of all of the applicants.
“Any opportunity that I was given for a scholarship I applied for,” Wagoner said. “I didn’t think I would win, and somehow I did.”
According to the Hopkins County Madisonville Fair President, Tom Gulley, there were six applicants who “tried out” for the scholarship. The application process is relatively simple he says. Applicants must sit on the Youth Fair Board, be high school aged and live in Hopkins County.
“We are trying to acclimate the youth with the fair,” Pruitt said. “ Once they finish their education, my hopes is that they want to be part of the fair, and lower the median age of our fair board members.”
Wagoner has been involved with the Hopkins County Fair for as long as he can remember. He was given the chance to apply for this scholarship last year, during his senior year at Madisonville North High School.
“I am excited and happy to have won. Some advice for kids, I would say, to get involved and make the best of it. Get involved in volunteering and be apart of your community.”
Wagoner is now a freshman at Madisonville Community College where he is studying Business Administration with hopes to purse a career in Public Relations.
“I hope this encourages others to do what I’m doing and to volunteer,” Wagoner said.
Gulley added that most who sit on the Fair Board have their background in Agriculture, which is very important, but they want to also encourage diversity and other interests. Wagoner is one of the rare few who focused on the Home & Garden aspect of the fair.
“People talk about keeping traditions alive,” Dana Brown, Director for the Ballard Convention Center said. “In my 13 years as director, I have been fortunate enough to watch how traditions are taught and therefore continued, as the children and young adults who care about the fair like Jack grow up.”
For those who are interested in this new scholarship, the applications are available at The Ballard Convention Center in Madisonville. Applications will be uploaded digitally by the end of the year, according to Gulley. Information on the Youth Board will also be uploaded for those interested in joining.