Vidalia Onion Business Council Awards Courtney Wilkes Scholarship to Brittany Braddy
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
“As a part of my contribution to the agriculture industry, I want to foster a love for agriculture in my students that will carry on into whatever path they may choose in life,” Brittany Braddy wrote recently in her application for the Courtney Wilkes Ag & Vet Scholarship. Now, with a little help from Courtney Wilkes’ friends and family, and the Vidalia Onion Business Council (VOBC), Green is a little closer to that dream.
The scholarship is in its 7th year and is available to graduating seniors in the Vidalia onion region who plan to pursue a career in the agriculture or veterinary industry. The program was created in honor of Courtney Wilkes, a Lyons, Georgia native whose life was taken in June 2011. Today, supporters of Courtney Wilkes and her family have donated enough to award at least one $1000 scholarship to students every year, for several years.
Braddy’s desire to be an agriculture educator manifested at an early age. Her fondest memories take place on her family owned farm where she was raised. She gained a deep interest and love for the agriculture industry from working with her father, grandfather, and farm employees. Brittany’s involvement in the National FFA Organization fostered her desire to advocate for the industry and make others aware of its importance. FFA helped Braddy realize her calling for agriculture education.
Braddy plans to attend Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Education with a double major in Agricultural Communication. Afterwards, she plans to move back home to Mt. Vernon, Georgia to teach agriculture education courses and advise the FFA chapter at Montgomery County High School. “By inspiring a passion for this industry in my students, I am helping to do my part in creating awareness for agriculture and ensuring that youth will continue to be knowledgeable about not only the farm to fork experience, but about all of the skills and qualities needed to be successful in the industry,” said Braddy.
Having read about Courtney Wilkes, Braddy said she and Courtney share several characteristics, qualities, and interests. She is number one academically in her class, a devout Christian and loves sports, animals, and the outdoors. “I enjoy working with my livestock and take pleasure in all aspects of the agriculture industry,” said Braddy.
Braddy is also highly involved in her community and extracurricular activities. In addition to her involvement in FFA, she is an active member of First Baptist Church of Mt. Vernon where she is a youth ministry leader and participates in community service projects like volunteering at the nursing home, women’s rehabilitation center, and beautifying college campuses. She is also a part of her high school’s golf team and varsity football cheerleading squad, Dual Enrollment Program, BETA Club, 21st Century Leaders, Toombs Montgomery Youth Leadership Team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Montgomery Livestock Show team, and the Georgia Junior Swine Boosters Junior Advisory Board.
As a scholarship recipient from the VOBC, Braddy is expected to serve as an ambassador for the Vidalia Onion industry. Braddy said her experience managing a fifty-acre Vidalia Onion crop for Braddy Farms gave her a unique perspective of the Vidalia Onion industry. “I will strive to share my knowledge [of the Vidalia Onion industry] with others and continue my involvement with the Braddy Farms Vidalia Onion crop,” said Braddy.
The Vidalia® Onion Business Council is a non-profit organization with the purpose of protecting the growing, harvesting and marketing of the Vidalia Onions. For more information about the VOBC or the Courtney Wilkes Ag & Vet Scholarship, you may call Bob Stafford, at 912-537-1881.