2 high school students receive scholarships to pursue agricultural dreams

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Jacob Martinez says as a kid, he never expected to pursue a career in agriculture.

"I was your average city person," Martinez said. "I didn't like touching animals, I didn't go close to animals. I went to the Ventura Fair to celebrate my sisters birthday and we saw the animals, and I was like, 'Dad I want to do this. I want to try this out.'"

The rest was history.

I started out showing pigs at 9 years old and, it was just a thing I did for fun," Martinez said. "And it's just grown into so much more."

Now he's a senior at Strathmore High School, and one of two EM Tharp Scholarship recipients.

"It's huge coming from a city family that was a little low income," Martinez said. "It's given me more opportunities and opened more doors."

The $10,000 scholarship supports local high school students who will be attending four-year universities to major in an agricultural field and hope to pursue a career in the industry.

"It brings everyone food, clothing, shelter, everything," says Tulare Western High School student Chastine Gist. "Agriculture is everything around you. I mean, even if you try to avoid it, it's going to be around you.

Gist plans to study Ag Business at Cal Poly this fall and ultimately make a career out of the industry she's been passionate about all her life.

"We have a family farm and the ultimate goal is to come back," Gist said. "I've always enjoyed the ag industry. I've been in it since i was born practically."

Nearly 40 students applied for the scholarship and were judged on grades, test scores and a round of interviews.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.