In 2003, the Ellis County Master Gardeners Association began making scholarships available to graduating high school seniors residing in Ellis County.

The ECMGA awarded $7,500 to three worthy recipients this year. Since the inception of the ECMGA College Scholarship Program in 2003, 38 graduating high school students have been awarded a total of $78,600.

One of the educational objectives of the ECMGA is to encourage Ellis County students to pursue college studies in horticulture and related agriculture-science fields through the awarding of college scholarships. The ECMGA wanted to provide financial aid to those students that chose college/university studies in horticulture or agriculture-sciences related disciplines through its college scholarship program.

This year marked the 16th year that the ECMGA offered Ellis County graduating high school seniors the opportunity to apply for college scholarships. Again this year, the ECMGA also allowed 2017 ECMGA college scholarship awardees currently enrolled at colleges or universities with degree plans in horticulture-related programs to re-apply.

Those scholarship winners included Catlin M. Edsall, a 2017 Red Oak High School graduate currently enrolled at Texas A&M ($3,000); Garrett M. Janek, an Italy High School senior ($2,500); and Jordan M. Jeffcoat, a Waxahachie High School senior ($2,000).

Edsall plans to continue her studies at Texas A&M University in College Station, where she is studying agriculture-science/land management and horticulture.

Jeffcoat plans to attend Texas A&M University in College Station. Jeffcoat, a Texas Master Naturalist Trainee, intends to pursue courses involving horticulture as well as courses in wildlife and natural resources.

Janek also plans to attend Texas A&M University in College Station, where his planned studies will include various courses in the field of agriculture-science. He has indicated that he intends to return to his Ellis County farm roots after graduating from Texas A&M and hopefully continue family farming and horticulture and gardening activities with his parents and grandparents.