Michigan State Fair & MSU Extension virtual showcase partnership provides $40K in scholarships in four years

The partnership between the Michigan State Fair and Michigan State University Extension has provided $40,000 in scholarships to youth participants of the Michigan State Fair 4-H and Youth Virtual Showcase.

Michigan State Fair Logo

Since it began during the pandemic in 2020, the annual Michigan State Fair 4-H and Youth Virtual Showcase has awarded $40,000 in scholarships to young Michiganders. The showcase is a partnership between the Michigan State Fair and Michigan State University Extension.

“The Michigan State Fair 4-H and Youth Virtual Showcase provides youth with the opportunity to demonstrate their skill, mastery and hard work through a virtual platform,” said Julie Chapin, state 4-H leader and director of MSU Extension’s children and youth programs. “The feedback we’ve received is that youth truly enjoy the opportunity to highlight their work on a statewide platform, without the obstacles, such as distance, that can be present for in-person experiences. We’re so grateful to the Michigan State Fair for continuing to partner with us on this venture year after year and for providing the incredible scholarship incentive for youth.”

The showcase allows Michigan youth ages 5 to 19 to exhibit their work in a variety of youth classes by submitting still photos and videos through an online platform. 4-H membership is not required. Entry options range from traditional classes like showmanship, breeding and market classes for livestock and companion animals to still exhibits such as crafts, creative writing and baking. Exhibitors may also enter educational projects and demonstrations that are not often shown at fairs in areas such as shooting sports, urban agriculture and leadership.

The showcase lets exhibitors display their talents and hard work at the state level, receive constructive feedback to help them develop their project skills and have their accomplishments recognized. Showcase participants ages 8 to 19 are eligible to compete for one of ten $1,000 scholarships. The scholarships are generously funded by the Michigan State Fair and provided in partnership with the Michigan 4-H Foundation. They help fulfill the fair’s mission of promoting and celebrating positive achievements in Michigan rural and urban agriculture, business and industry.

“Our commitment to youth engagement and support for the future of agriculture is one of the most important things that we have been able to accomplish in the revival of the Michigan State Fair tradition,” said Blair Bowman, Michigan State Fair manager. “As so often is the case, good things can come from difficult circumstances and our partnership with MSU Extension and the 4-H program for virtual scholarships is a great example. Even though the pandemic has passed, we are so pleased to continue to support the virtual scholarship program, which allows us to expand our reach to youth who may not otherwise be able to participate.”

Recipients of the 4-H virtual scholarships in 2023 are:

  • Makenna Beckett, Kent County
  • Gavin Bunning, St. Joseph County
  • Morgan Childers, Oakland County
  • Evie Clare, Berrien County
  • Alexis Fisher, Monroe County
  • Gabriel Grigar, Gratiot County
  • Bryant Janetzke, Ionia County
  • Travis Liford, Oakland County
  • Lowell Stoller, Kent County
  • Oliver Stoller, Kent County

To view placings for the 2023 Michigan State Fair 4-H and Youth Virtual Showcase, visit the Michigan State Fair 4-H & Youth Virtual Showcase webpage. To learn more about Michigan 4-H, visit the Michigan 4-H website.

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