Those are my roots

samantha-125.jpgSamantha Hobbs is just 18, but she knows the value of an education. 

Without the financial aid and scholarship opportunities open to her at Virginia Highlands Community College, “I’d be in a lot more debt….. or not in college at all,” says the Abingdon High School graduate and first year student at VHCC.

She’s delighted to be at “Highlands,” where she’s saving money and working at tractor dealership, pulling a 4.0 average and the chance to transfer to Virginia Tech to complete a degree in an agricultural finance field. “Think of all the money I’m saving,” she says, “and all the support I get at home.”

Like her peers, she’s aware of Community College Transfer Grants, which may help her cut $1,000 off the tuition at a four-year school after graduating with an associate’s degree — and she’s aware of guaranteed transfer agreements.  She may transfer to Virginia Tech; her peer Ed Harris, also visiting, is already tuned into the guaranteed agreement with UVA-Wise.

Samantha grew up in agriculture; her family owns a beef cattle farm in Washington County. “Being in farming, we don’t have the best income,” she says. But she’s made the most of opportunities offered through Future Farmers of America, the Governor’s School for Agriculture, and lots of service activities at her high school — along with excellent grades. A Community Scholar, she has a full tuition scholarship to Virginia Highlands.

She and fellow students met another VHCC alum, Del. Bill Carrico. They talked about the turns a career can take. Brittany Lutzo isn’t sure about her career path; Bobby Patrick wants to earn an associate of applied science in radiography and work in a regional hospital. Del. Carrico told them he studied drafting and design at Virginia Highlands — and then went into the State Police. “You just never know for sure what you’ll do,” he said. But it all comes around. When his drafting skills were discovered by the State Police, they put him on the accident reconstruction team where he could use his drawing ability.

Samantha’s been sure for a while she wants to stay in agriculture, and looks forward to a VHCC-sponsored trip to an agriculture economics conference at Virginia Tech later this spring. “Those are my roots,” she says. “That’s my foundation.”

Posted by Susan Hayden

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