The Ontario County 4-H program recently presented its annual scholarship award to 13-year member Mackenzie Lill, of Honeoye Falls.
The scholarship goes to high school seniors planning to attend college in the fall.
Lill joined Ontario County 4-H when she was 5 years old. Her main project areas were animal science and public speaking.
“I have shown or at least owned as a 4-H project just about every species of animal that you can exhibit at the fair,” she said.
Common project animals include sheep, goats, poultry, horses, cattle and rabbits. Lill said the highlight of her 4-H experience was representing New York State 4-H at the National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.
Through 4-H, Lill took part in several trips such as Career Explorations at Cornell University, Statewide Teen Action Rep Retreat in Syracuse and Capital Days in Albany. She served in many leadership roles at the county and state level.
“If you need a teen leader, Mackenzie is always there for you,” 4-H educator Sarah Bagley said.
Lill also educated the public on poultry at the New York State Fair.
“All the skills I have gained through 4-H — such as leadership, public speaking, patience, the ability to articulate answers to questions, a passion for learning and the ability to feel comfortable meeting new people — have directed me toward studying animal science at Cornell University,” she said. “Although I am extremely grateful that 4-H has directed me to this path, I am even more grateful for the people I have met along the way. It is fairly rare that a person meets a friend they believe they will stay in touch with for the rest of their lives, but in 4-H I have met so many friends that I could have forever.”
Lill was accepted into the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell, where she plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in animal science. From there, she plans to apply to the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine.
“I have 4-H to thank for giving me the most amazing friends and inspiring me to major in animal science, attend Cornell University and pursue a career in veterinary medicine,” she said.