By Nick Kuhl
Alta Newspaper Group – Lethbridge
Exhibition Park and the Rotary Club of Lethbridge East are partnering to provide a new $10,000 scholarship award program for a top agricultural student.
The scholarship is designed to recognize the importance of agriculture in the region by supporting a top student in their pursuit of an agricultural career.
“Everything we try to do is ag related,” said Doug Kryzanowski, Exhibition Park’s marketing manager, during a media launch event.
“We’re not gas, we’re not oil — we’re farm and ranch. And that’s what Exhibition Park has always been. It’s another step in our partnership with Rotary East of Lethbridge. We’re happy to be a partner in the scholarship venture with them.”
“Our club’s been chartered for 58 years and some of the founding members were farmers and ranchers in the community,” said Andrew Bronson with Rotary Club of Lethbridge East, one of five clubs in the city. “We’ve always had that tradition. We just feel it’s our mandate we’ve taken on to advocate for agriculture. There’s no better way to express that than an agriculture scholarship. The backbone of Lethbridge is agriculture and always will be. This is a way to raise the profile and hopefully attract some really bright young minds to apply.”
The criteria for the scholarship includes: being a student who has completed at least three years of college or university at a recognized institution; and that the student must have demonstrated high academic achievement and leadership qualities in an agriculture-related field.
The application must include: a cover letter showing their academic achievements, community contributions, leadership abilities and aspirations in an agriculture related field; three letters of reference from their post-secondary institution and community leader(s) confirming the applicant’s volunteer and leadership qualities; and an overview of their field of study to be supported by the scholarship.
Applicant must be a legal resident of: the city of Lethbridge, Lethbridge County, County of Taber, County of Warner, County of Forty Mile, County of Cardston, County of Pincher Creek, County of Ranchlands, County of Willow Creek, County of Vulcan, Blood (Kainai) First Nations, Piikani First Nation, or the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass.
“We’re focusing on applicants that have a history in southern Alberta,” said Wayne Lindwall, assistant district governor for Rotary.
“We want them to be ambassadors for the agriculture industry in the community, as well as ambassadors for Rotary.”
Final selection will be based on a formal interview with a Rotary Scholarship Committee.
An award dinner, with guest speaker Steve Koeckhoven, market research manager at Nutrien, will then take place at Exhibition Park on Feb. 28 during Ag Expo 2019.
Both Rotary and Exhibition officials also believe the scholarship will go beyond an annual feature moving forward.
“It may be one this year, it may be three in three years from now, as the funds keep growing with our founding partners and other sponsors,” Kryzanowski said.