Each year the Fairfield Glade Garden Club awards scholarships to graduating seniors from Cumberland County High School and Stone Memorial High School. This year COVID-19 presented the club with a bit of a challenge. Nevertheless, through the persistence of the Scholarship Committee, the responsiveness of the staff at both high schools and the flexibility of the students, the Garden Club was able to give scholarships once again to seven new and four returning graduates. Of the seven new students, Katelyn Carpenter received the Lois Megowan Lucas Scholarship and Andrew Johnson received the Regina (Honey) Olsten Scholarship. Both aforementioned scholarships were given in honor of lifelong gardeners by a longtime member of the FG Garden Club. The remaining new and returning students will each receive scholarships from the Helena Schmidt Scholarship Fund.

To qualify for our scholarships the students must be residents of Cumberland County who have been accepted by a college or university with the intent to receive a degree or receive a training certificate in an agriculture/horticulture field or one that relates to the food web.  Students are eligible for additional financial assistance for three subsequent school years, provided they re-apply. Since 2010, the FG Garden Club has given $73,000 in scholarships to area students. They proudly present this year’s scholarship winners. Congratulations to them all!


Meet the graduates

Kallie Hale will be attending Tennessee Tech University in the fall and pursuing a degree in Agricultural Business with a minor in Animal Science. Working on her family farm, she has been extremely involved with cattle, sheep, gardening, and soil conservation. An active member and officer of Future Farmers of America, Kallie has also attended the FFA National and Tennessee Conventions and has competed in the FFA Land Judging Career Development Event where she was named high individual for the past two district competitions. Going on to compete regionally, her team placed fourth then advancing to the state competition and placing fifth. Kallie would like to manage a business with a focus on agriculture.   

Katelyn Wattenbarger will be majoring in Agricultural Communications with a minor in Business and plans on attending Tennessee Technological University. Active in the FFA, she was this year’s Stone Memorial Chapter President and Middle Tennessee’s FFA Regional Sentinel. Spending time in the National FFA organization, Katelyn developed a passion for communicating agricultural literacy and hopes to work as a media specialist. She wants to help farmers promote their businesses and help the agriculture industry thrive.

Andrew Johnson, although just graduating from high school, Andrew has already completed his associate’s degree at Roane State and will be attending Tennessee Tech University this fall as a junior. His course of study is wildlife and fisheries science conservation biology. Andrew loves everything outdoors and wants to be able to help in the protection and conservation of it for generations to come and hopes to work for the State of Tennessee. Andrew possesses a strong work ethic and created and owns his own business, Johnson Complete Lawncare.  

Maci Gernt will be attending the University of Tennessee at Martin in the fall and majoring in animal science. She currently raises and shows cattle and is actively involved in the FFA. Among some of her many accomplishments are: FFA state degree; second place FFA State Livestock Judging Team; first place 4-H Livestock Judging Team for East Tennessee Region; and Grand Champion AOB Heifer Tennessee Beef Expo. Her experience in livestock judging helped her to better evaluate her herd and develop her supervised agriculture experience beef production entrepreneurship. She would eventually like to go to law school with a focus on Ag Law or pursue a graduate degree in nutrition or genetics.  

Samantha Essex will be attending the University of Tennessee at Martin and majoring in agriculture education. Growing up and working on the family’s farm provided a strong agricultural background and after becoming actively involved in the FFA and experiencing agriculture classes in high school, Samantha knew she wanted to have a classroom of her own and impact her students the same way her teachers impacted her. Participating and competing in the FFA, she was strongly involved in communications and placed first in the district in extemporaneous speaking. Samantha hopes to also obtain a master’s degree in ag education and become an FFA Advisor and part of the Tennessee Association of Agriculture Educators.  

Katelyn Carpenter, majoring in environmental and agricultural engineering with a concentration in soil science, will be attending Tennessee Technological University in the fall. Through her experience in FFA, she developed a passion for agriculture and hopes to enable farmers to utilize conservative, sustainable agriculture practices. A dedicated volunteer, Katelyn has worked over 474 service hours in the community and was recognized as the Prudential Spirit of Community State Honoree. This recognition is given only once annually to the top-performing student volunteer in the State of Tennessee.  

Angel Hayes will be attending Roane State and will be working towards a degree in wildlife and fisheries. Her goal is to eventually complete field training with the TWRA and become a Tennessee Game Warden. Angel attributes her respect for nature to her dad and her uncle who spent time hunting and fishing with her. She is actively involved in FFA and community volunteerism.  


Returning recipients

Hannah Black, majoring in agricultural science, has completed her first year at Roane State on the Dean’s list. Upon completing her associate’s degree, she plans on transferring to Tennessee Tech to major in agricultural education. Her love for agriculture began with her grandfather’s garden and her ultimate goal is to be able to educate future generations about the importance of agriculture and how it benefits our everyday lives.   

Krista Laffrey is a fourth-year recipient of this scholarship. Inspired by working with livestock on her family farm, Krista is pursuing a doctorate in veterinary medicine. Although she has not completed her final year at Tennessee Tech, she has been accepted into an accelerated program with Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine on the island of St. Kitts.  She will spend just over two years there and will then complete her last year of clinicals at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Her goal is to become a mobile, large animal vet in the Crossville area. While at Tennessee Tech, she taught high school students in their Spring Vet Science Career Development Event Clinic. She currently works as a veterinary assistant at Best Friends Veterinary Hospital.  

Nicholas Carpenter will be starting his junior year at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He is studying agricultural communications and hopes to use his degree as a freelance agriculture journalist to help the public understand how our world’s food is grown globally. His ultimate goal is to work with the Tennessee Farm Bureau’s communication department. Upon graduating, he will commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Nicholas has also interned with the Tennessee Division of Forestry and traveled the state making a video about how they protect, conserve and enhance Tennessee’s forests. He then presented his video to the Tennessee Commissioner for Agriculture.  

Braxton Patton has completed his first year at Roane State and is majoring in environmental biology. Braxton is interested in soil safety, clean food production, clean biofuels and preservation of renewable and sustainable natural resources. He enjoys working both in the laboratory and out in the field. He would like to work on the development of biofuels and hopes to test and research plants to achieve a more sustainable and greener source of energy for vehicles. Braxton credits his grandmother for his passion for all things environmental.