Live Oak County students have received $438,500 through the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo since 2007 and the local chapter of Go Texan has awarded $301,500 to Live Oak graduates over the last 15 years.
Live Oak students have been awarded twice as much as the other nine counties in this district, according to Live Oak Go Texan lifetime member Rip Wallace.
“It’s heartwarming,” Wallace said. “It’s been a goal to give every kid a scholarship and we work our tails off.”
The bulk of the local fundraising comes from three events, the Bucky Houdman Memorial Invitational Fishing Tournament in June, a gumbo cook-off in October, and from participating in the barbecue cook-off at the Houston rodeo in the spring.
“Everyone has fun and we make money,” Wallace said.
Wallace has been a member for 32 years and helped bring Live Oak into Go Texan by setting the gears into motion for Bee County to have one just so Live Oak could participate. Wallace said this is because counties can only participate in Go Texan if they border a participating county.
Live Oak’s first Go Texan scholarship was for $500 and, according to Wallace, things really took off about 17 years ago.
“I just like to help kids,” Wallace said as he explained the satisfaction he gets from helping local students for more than 30 years. “When they come back 10 years later and shake my hand and say, ‘Thank you for caring about me,’” it makes it all worth the effort.
The $2,000 scholarship winners were selected by a committee from another county based on their grades, leadership roles, extracurricular activities and community involvement. The $18,000 scholarship winner was selected by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
The following Live Oak students won $2,000 scholarships:
Rachel Arvizu, Lukas Barcak, Zeliene Brown, Derek Cantu, Joseph Feist, Ephraim Gonzalez, Kelcee Hillis, Kathrn Jimerson, Charles Johnston, Brad Jones, Andrew Katzfey, Katelyn Keach, Ashley Keadle, Bailey Keith, Lacey McNeill, Quest Newberry, Luis Riojas, Haley Rodriquez, Angelica Sauceda, Brooke Schroeder, Caitlin Silvie, Marley Snider, Victoria Wasicek, and Sarah Whitley.
The local Go Texan group awarded four additional $2,000 scholarships to David Brandenburg Jr., Alejandro Flores, Leslie Hatch and Ryan Kaase to attend technical school.
Brandenburg plans on welding oil rigs, Flores wants to repair air conditioners, Hatch will study radiology and Kaase will go into welding.
Every year the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo also presents 72 scholarships to students from the 62 participating counties with an additional 10 scholarships awarded at large within the counties. This year’s Go Texan scholarships were worth $18,000 each.
Holt was selected as the Live Oak County $18,000 scholarship winner. For Holt’s story, see our special section next week featuring the Live Oak and McMullen counties graduates.