Master Gardeners award first $500 scholarship

Provided photo: Master Gardener Scholarship recipient Claudia Drechsel poses with MG Treasurer Don O’Keefe (left), Scholarship Chairperson Eileen Sorochty, and Master Gardener Chair Barb Linhart in the Honor Garden at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Education Center.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 13 August 2017 at 7:19 pm

Claudia Drechsel of Murray, an active member of 4-H, is picked for award

KNOWLESVILLE – Claudia Drechsel, a member of the Holley Central School Class of 2017, has received a $500 college scholarship from Orleans Count Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners

The scholarship is offered to high school seniors in Orleans County who intend to pursue a degree in horticulture or agriculture, said Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator Katie Oakes.

Drechsel graduated in Holley’s Top Ten this past June, and plans to study agricultural business at Morrisville State College this fall. She is pursuing a 4-year degree.

“The focus will be on general agriculture, I will try to broaden my horizons,” Drechsel said.

She is an Orleans County 4-Her who has raised sheep, chickens and rabbits, but is looking forward to learning more about other facets of agriculture, including dairy and horticulture.

She hopes to join the Peace Corps after college, “and help people in other countries learn how to farm efficiently,” she said. Eventually, Drechsel hopes to be a political activist for agriculture.

Photo by Kristina Gabalski: Claudia Drechsel of Murray poses with her Navajo Churro heritage breed sheep, Elsa, at the 2017 Orleans County 4-H Fair.

Drechsel said the scholarship means a great deal to her.

“It is an acknowledgement of all the hard work I have done and it is nice to be recognized,” she said. “I am so thankful and grateful. It takes a load off – college is so expensive.”

During the 2015-2016 school year, Drechsel lived in Austria as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student.  She has also participated in the Youth Conservationist Program raising and breeding heritage wool sheep.

She said participation in Orleans County 4-H  has been an important part of her educational experience.

“It’s true,” she observed, “4-H really does take you places. It has provided so many opportunities including award trips, public speaking, leadership training and being at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. My 4-H experiences have really taught me to be responsible and helped me become engaged in my community.”

Drechsel says she feels careers in agri-business are often overlooked by young people, but that there are many opportunities.

“There is so much more to agriculture,” she said, noting that farming is one of many agriculture-related careers.

Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener volunteer Brenda Radzinski is a member of the committee which selected Drechsel as scholarship recipient.

It was clear Drechsel stood out as an exceptional student and community member, Radzinski said.

“Her grades were excellent and her essay was wonderful,” Radzinski said. “She showed a real love of agriculture.”

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