Leah Greiner of Montgomery County has won a pair of scholarships from the State Fair of Virginia for exhibiting at the 2020 Virginia Youth Livestock Show.
Greiner was awarded $2,880 for winning the senior division of the livestock exhibit and $2,000 for winning the Youth Development Scholarship.
Fifteen youth who exhibited beef cattle, sheep, meat goats or swine in the 2020 Youth livestock Show were awarded scholarships totaling $23,000 from the fair’s Applied Scholarship Program.
Restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 state fair through a modified Youth Livestock Show was held in place of the traditional 4-H and FFA youth livestock programs.
This is the first year that two $2,000 youth development scholarships were offered for participants in any state fair competition. Additionally, it was the third year that a $1,000 scholarship was offered to participants in State Fair 4-H, FFA or youth craft, skill or trade competitions. The latter scholarship was part of the Gatewood Holland Stoneman Endowment, established in 2018 in memory of W.N. Stoneman Jr. The Stoneman family was active in the state fair and other agricultural causes.
Judging was based on the applicants’ livestock show participation, as well as on leadership and community service activities and an essay. Applied Youth Livestock Scholarships were offered in three age groups: Juniors (9-12), Intermediate (13-15) and Seniors (16 and older).
Funds allocated for those scholarships represent a portion of proceeds from the sixth annual Youth Livestock Sale of Champions benefit auction, held on Oct. 3, 2020.
“I’m so thankful that we have a generation of young people coming up who have an interest in advancing Virginia agriculture,” said M.L. Everett Jr., president of the State Fair of Virginia Youth Development Board. “The board’s top priority is to give back to the community, and we feel that the scholarship program encourages youth to continue their education and participation in agriculture.
This year’s Sale of Champions raised $90,000 to support the fair’s scholarship program, surpassing the total raised at the State Fair of Virginia in 2019.
“We are very proud of the amount of money we’re able to award to our youth participants despite the challenges presented by the fair’s cancellation in 2020,” said William F. Osl, Jr., chairman of the Youth Development Board. “We are grateful to those who made contributions and are continuing to support the fair’s long-standing mission of promoting youth involvement in agriculture.”
Since 2013 the State Fair of Virginia has awarded nearly 1,500 scholarships and has given over $570,000 to support youth education. The fair offers youth more than $80,000 each year in scholarship funds through 4-H, FFA and vocational competitions and specific equine, fine arts and horticulture competitions.
The state fair is held each fall at its permanent home at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County and attracts 250,000 fairgoers. The event celebrates the best of Virginia’s past, present and future through scholarship initiatives, creative programming and a focus on the commonwealth’s agriculture and natural resources industries.