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Valencia High senior receives first Valencia County Master Gardeners scholarship

LOS LUNAS ? Valencia High School senior Chelsea Romero is the recipient of the first scholarship from Valencia County Extension Master Gardeners.

Four people standing behind a giant check
Valencia County Master Gardeners Carolynn Sanchez, left, and Carol Verstoppen, center, along with Valencia High School agriculture teacher Cassidy Cordova, back row, present a scholarship check to Valencia High School senior Chelsea Romero. This is the first time the Master Gardener group has awarded a scholarship to a Valencia County high school senior. (NMSU photo by Jane Moorman)

The daughter of Nolbert and Janet Romero of Los Lunas plans to attend New Mexico State University to pursue a degree in physical therapy or pre-veterinary science.

?The Master Gardener program and Cooperative Extension Service are all about improving our community,? said Newt McCarty, NMSU Valencia County Extension agricultural agent. ?Youth are a significant part of that.?

?It?s important to help our kids get more education and to encourage them to do so,? said Carol Verstoppen, Valencia County Master Gardeners secretary. ?I read Chelsea?s application and I was thrilled she put so much time and energy into doing this scholarship.?

The National Honor Society member has earned her Greenhand, Chapter and State FFA degrees. She is the vice president of the Valencia High FFA, and previously has served as reporter.

Romero?s part-time job at a local veterinary office has introduced her to that profession, which she will be striving to enter after college.

?This is the first year we?ve awarded a scholarship,? said Carolynn Sanchez, Valencia County Master Gardener treasurer. ?We?re hoping to raise enough money this year to provide scholarships to more youth next year.?

Fundraising will be through plant sales; a drawing for a Barbary sheep hunt, a cow elk hunt and a whole processed hog; and contributions.

Master Gardeners assist their local Cooperative Extension Service office in providing accurate, research-based gardening information to county residents after receiving in-depth horticultural training.