The Kane County Fair board of directors in St. Charles has named Jessica Dunteman of Big Rock and Willem VanDerMeij of Geneva as its 2020 scholarship recipients. Each student, who is an active member of a local 4-H Club, will receive $750 per year for four years, or a cumulative total of $3,000, as they continue and complete their higher education.
“We are pleased to continue our long-standing tradition of awarding annual scholarships to worthy young students who are active in the 4-H community,” said Larry Breon, chairman of the Kane County Fair board of directors. “It’s an honor for us to provide monetary assistance to these outstanding students. They have achieved high academic excellence and have given back to their communities. We wish them the best in achieving their dreams.”
Dunteman is a graduate of Hinckley-Big Rock High School. Her honors include the honor roll, and the Scholar Pin, Leatherette Frame, and Red Cord Awards. Dunteman has been active with the student council, a Renaissance board member, a Harbor Mentor, Academic Challenge, and in a variety of sports-basketball, volleyball, softball, and soccer.
She will be attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in animal science and double minoring in beef scholars and Ag business.
“My whole life I’ve grown up around animals and have a great interest in them,” Dunteman said. “By pursuing this career I believe I won’t feel like I’m working a day in my life because I’ll love my job.”
She is currently president of the Big Rock Cowhands 4-H Club and served in a leadership capacity for the past five years. She has been involved with the 4-H Camp, pork chop dinner, cookie delivery to the elderly, and volunteering at the ice cream booth. She has shown cattle, pigs, goats, horses and rabbits at the annual Kane County Fair.
Dunteman notes that 4-H has made a great impact on her life.
“I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for my 4-H experience,” she said. “It taught me responsibility, dedication, and hard work. These traits that I’ve learned through my years of caring for animals, I apply to everyday activities.”
VanDerMeij is a graduate of Geneva Community High School in the top 5% of his class. He has been active with school activities, including the National Honor Society, National German Honor Society, ACES Team, and National Technical Honor Society.
He has been active in a number of school activities, marching and jazz band and wind symphony (alto saxophone); math team, German Club, and Enrich and Empower. His many awards include: Tradition of Excellence Award, four times, from the Geneva School Board; high honor roll, national German exam, literary festival; and many math contest top awards.
He will attend Cedarville University in Cedarville, OH, studying computer engineering.
“I always wanted to be an engineer but wasn’t always sure what type,” VanDerMeij said. “After participating in 4-H robotics for many years, I realized my favorite part of robotics was whenever I got to build circuits to control something and program those circuits.”
VanDerMeij has been very active with the Fantastics 4-H Club, serving as vice president in grades 8-9. He is a 4-H Grand champion 10 times in robotics, vegetable gardening, cooking, public speaking, creative writing, and more. He also was part of the U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren/Lauren Underwood STEM Scholars Program in 11th and 12th grade.
Since the launching of its Kane County Fair 4-H scholarship program more than 10 years ago, many Kane County area 4-H students have been awarded financial assistance to further their education.
For more information, contact the Kane County Fair at (630) 584-6926.
SOURCE: The Kane County Fair Board news release