Ali Merritt was recently awarded a state 4-H scholarship at the State Congress, a big honor that she said she is proud to receive.
Merritt has been involved with 4-H for over half of her life, and the award is a culmination of all the time and effort she has put in.
As a recent graduate from Sidney High School, the scholarship will also help her with college expenses, she said.
She took some time to answer questions about what it was like to receive the state scholarship and what it means to her.
Q: How does it feel Ali to be awarded a state scholarship like that?
A: To receive a Montana State 4-H Scholarship is a great opportunity and recognition. 4-H has been such a large part of my life for the past 11 years I have dedicated my time and through that time I have learned my passion. 4-H has taught me so many valuable life skills and has introduced me to so many wonderful people and I am forever grateful for that opportunity. To be a recipient of a Montana 4-H Scholarship is a great recognition of my dedication and hard work and I am thankful to Hubbard Feeds for being my donor of this scholarship.
Q: What does receiving this scholarship mean for you? How much is it going to help you?
A: The Montana 4-H Foundation is truly extraordinary for our growing youth. Through the Foundation I have had the opportunities to attend once-in-a-lifetime events such as State Congress and even National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Georgia. But without a doubt the true power is what it does for our local communities with assistance in grants we are able to influence and improve the services of our communities. Your contributions to Montana 4-H help us youth turn into leaders for our communities and teach us responsibilities, so we can make the best better for everyone. Please consider donating to the Montana 4-H Foundation.
Receiving any scholarship means so much as someone else found your application worthy enough for you to be the recipient. When it came down to apply for the 4-H scholarships it was so easy to apply I had done all of the work and was able to show off my accomplishments I worked so hard for. I am more than appreciative to be able to apply this scholarship to my college education.
Q: In the past you’ve mentioned how important 4-H is to you, so what’s it like to receive a 4-H scholarship?
A: 4-H has shaped who I am today. If you would have told little 8-year-old me what I would accomplish through 4-H she would have said, “No way I can’t do that.” Shy little me could have never thought of doing the public speaking I do now. Or that I would be starting and raising my own Registered Red Angus herd of cattle and be the Montana JR. Red Angus Association President.
I couldn’t have accomplished any of this without my involvement with 4-H. As a Montana 4-H State Award winner in 2019 I took a once-in-a-lifetime trip as a Montana Delegate to Atlanta, Georgia to the National 4-H Congress. That trip was eye-opening to say the least. To see one organization bring so many youth together who share similar passions was amazing.
Merritt will be attending Montana State University Bozeman this fall. She will be part of the College of Agriculture to have a major in Animal Science Livestock Management and Industries.
For a career path, she said she plans to work with cattle genetics and nutrition.