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County Fair Board offers scholarships

The Williamson County Fair Board voted last week to offer two deserving students each a one-year, $2,000 scholarship to the college or institution of his/her choice to pursue undergraduate studies.

“It has always been [the Fair Board’s] goal to break even and have a good fair, but if we made money, we always gave back to the community,” said Cherry Lane Darken, chairman of the scholarship committee.

In past years the fair board was able to give back by providing funds for added electric outlets, outside lights and improvements to the arena at the Agricultural Exposition Park.

“There are so many good young people involved with the fair, someone came up with the idea of providing a scholarship,” Darken said.

The Williamson County Fair Scholarship targets graduating seniors who live in Williamson County and have in some way been involved with the fair. Students who entered livestock shows, canning or dressmaking contests, even the Fairest of the Fair Pageant, or who volunteered in any way – parking, helping with the various shows or in Little 1s Farming – are all invited to apply.

“We have had Junior Fair Board members for several years who have really pitched in,” Darken said. “We hope they will apply. This is a way to continue to give back to people who have helped with the fair.”

When young people get involved with the fair in high school, the fair gets in their blood, Darken said.

“That’s how I got started. When I was a child and I got involved in the Maury County Fair,” she said. “I have such great memories of being a part of the fair. We’re trying to give that memory making opportunity to today’s young people.”

To qualify for the scholarship, students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale, be accepted to a college or institution of higher learning and attend as a full-time student, complete a 300 word essay and/or a personal interview on the “Benefits of a County Fair” and provide two letters of reference – one from a high school faculty member and one from an individual from the fair community.

The Scholarship Committee will score the application 50 percent fair participation, 20 percent academics, 10 percent extracurricular activities, 10 percent financial need and 10 percent on the essay/interview.

The scholarship will be paid to the college or institution in which the recipient is enrolled after the recipient satisfactorily completes his/her first college semester with a minimum 2.75 GPA.

This year only, the scholarships are open to Williamson County college students in their freshman, sophomore or junior years who had previously been involved with the fair and meet the rest of the criteria.

“We realize since this is new, they didn’t have a chance before, but in the following years the scholarships will be limited to high school seniors,” Darken said. “We are really excited about being able to do this. The fair is all about education. This is only fitting.”

If the fair does well and continues to grow as it has, the scholarship committee hopes to offer more scholarships or, with college costs always increasing, increase the amount of the scholarships, Darken said.

For more information contact Darken at 615-599-4005 or Scholarship applications are available at and the Cooperative Extension Office located at the Ag Expo Park, 4215 Long Lane, Franklin, Tenn.

Posted on: 1/30/2013


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