BRIDGEWATER, NJ – Ten 4-H members, including three from Hillsborough, have been named recipients of Somerset County 4-H scholarships to further their education.

Open to members and recent alumni of the Somerset County 4-H Youth Development Program, the scholarship program will provide a total of $16,500 to the 10 winners.

Recipient of the Joseph J. & Florence K. Klimas Scholarship is Wil Staats of Bridgewater; 4-H Trainmasters and 4-H Alpaca Club Scholarships is Zach Ferreira of Whitehouse Station; the Rob Fellows Memorial Scholarships are presented to Evan Brochinsky of Bridgewater and Jason Smith of Hillsborough; 4-H Prep Scholarship, also Evan Brochinsky of Bridgewater.  Recipients of the Somerset County 4-H Association Scholarships are Evan Brochinsky of Bridgewater, Shay Fleming of Neshanic Station, William Walto of North Plainfield, Alex Strasser of Warren, Kara Johnson of Montgomery, Abigail Johnstone of Hillsborough and Leigha Giranda of Hillsborough.

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Wil Staats is a 2017 graduate of Bridgewater Raritan High School and currently a student of Raritan Valley Community College. As a recent 4-H Alum, Wil has kept involved with his former Woolly Ones 4-H Sheep Club by mentoring younger members and  served as a youth member of the Somerset County 4-H Association. Having held a number of leadership roles in several clubs over his 13 year 4-H Career, Wil plans to major in education and become a teacher. The Klimas scholarship is named for Florence Klimas who was a long time 4-H volunteer and teacher in the Branchburg Middle School. The scholarship is awarded annually to a 4-H Alum majoring in education. This scholarship is supported by the sons of Florence Klimas through a memorial fund. 

Zach Ferreira will graduate from Hunterdon Central High School in June and plans to attend Kent State University in Ohio to become a commercial airline pilot. Zach has been an active member of the Somerset County 4-H Trainmasters Club for nine years and has been their Secretary and Vice President. As one of the senior members of the club, he mentors the younger members and has participated in community service activities such as helping with the annual 4-H Christmas Dinner and going to a senior living center with a model train to entertain the elderly residents. the Trainmasters 4-H club raises funds for this 4-H Scholarship during their semi- annual train shows held at the Somerset County 4-H Center. The Alpaca Club raises funds for its scholarship through a variety of community service activities.

Evan Brochinsky will graduate from Bridgewater Raritan High School in June. Evan has been an active 4-H Club member of eight different clubs in his 12 years of 4-H participation. He has held a number of leadership roles including President of many of those clubs and has been the master mind behind several magic, culinary and theatrical performances at the Somerset County 4-H Fair as well as Rutgers Day. Evan has chosen Westminster College in Wilmington PA where he can continue with Marching Band and hopes to be a teacher in the future. The Rob Fellows scholarship is given to a teen who has shown some interest in trains.  It is given in memory of a man who enjoyed trains of all kind. The Somerset County 4-H Prep Scholarship is given to a former Somerset County 4-Prep member who gives back to the Prep program.

Jason Smith is also a recipient of the Rob Fellows Memorial Scholarship. Jason will graduate in June from Hillsborough High School and plans to attend Virginia Technical Institute to participate in their engineering program. Jason has been a Somerset County 4-H member for eight years in the Radio Control Car club. He has been an important force behind several Community Service projects including obtaining back packs and school supplies for needy children to start school. He has served as President of his club and a mentor for younger members.

Shay Fleming will graduate from Hunterdon Central High School in June. She plans to attend Raritan Valley Community College in the fall. She has been a member of horse and sheep clubs for 5 years and has been on the County 4-H Horse Bowl, Hippology and Horse Judging teams competing at state, regional and national competitions for several years. Shay has often done very well in those competitions, even placing first as an individual and/ or on the first- place team. Shay has been involved in a variety of Community Service projects over the years and volunteered for several club committees.

William Walto will graduate from Union Catholic Regional High School in June and plans to major in Pre- law at Catholic University of America in Washington DC. William has been a 4-H member for 5 years in the Woolly Ones 4-H Sheep club. He has served in a treasurer role in that club and a mentor to younger members. He has participated in the Relay for Life cancer fund raiser with his club and other Community Service projects including baking pies for the local food pantry.

Alex Strasser will graduate from Pingry School in June and plans to attend Carnegie Mellon University in the fall majoring in engineering. Alex has been a 4-H member for 12 years participating mostly in the Robotics program and holding offices of Treasurer and President. He created the Somerset County Fair App for Fair participants to use on their phone when searching for information about the Fair. In his club he has mentored younger members and given demonstrations to thousands at the Somerset County 4-H Fair in the Robotics Tent.

Kara Johnson will graduate from Montgomery High School in June and plans to attend Rutgers University in the fall majoring in communications. She credits all of the 4-H presentations she has given over the years for her interest in communications. Kara has been an active 4-H member for 12 years in horse, sheep, exchange and livestock clubs and is a current youth member of the Somerset County 4-H Association. Kara has volunteered for many Association and horse program fund raising events and has held numerous offices in her clubs including Treasurer, Secretary and President. She has been a successful member of the County 4-H Horse Bowl, Hippology and Horse Judging teams often placing in the top ten as an individual and on the first- place team in state competitions and was a member of the State Horse Bowl team competing in regional and national contests.

Abigail Johnstone will graduate from Hillsborough High School in June. She plans to attend Binghamton University in the fall and major in engineering. Abby has been in 4-H for eight years in cooking and fine arts clubs and teen council, a leadership and community service club. Abby served on the North Jersey 4-H Teen Conference planning committee and has participated in many club community service projects including raking leaves for the elderly, making goodie bags for SHIP and road clean ups.

Leigha Giranda will graduate from Hillsborough High School in June. She plans to attend Kutztown University in the fall and plans to major in graphic design. Leigha was a dog club and horse club member for 12 years and was part of the county Horse Bowl, Hippology and Horse Judging teams competing in state, regional and national competitions. She credits 4-H with helping her find her passion for graphic design by participating in the 4-H Equine Art program. She also notes that 4-H helped her become a better public speaker.

The 4-H Youth Development Program is part of Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Cooperative Extension. 4-H educational programs are offered to all youth, grades K-13, on an   age-appropriate basis, without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, military service, veteran status, and any other category protected by law. For additional information, contact somersetcounty4h@co.somerset.nj.us or visit www.4histops.org.