Initial plans announced for SCAGT scholarship gala

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The fifth annual Smith County Area Go Texan scholarship gala is scheduled for Saturday, July 21, at Harvey Hall Convention Center, located at 2000 West Front St., in Tyler. The event begins at 6 p.m. and is the major fundraising event of the organization.

“We are excited to see this event grow as it does each year,” said Wade Frederick, Smith County Area Go Texan member. “This event is the result of a great group of volunteers working for the benefit of our Smith County students. Those that attend this year will have a great time and leave knowing they have made a difference for local students.”

The gala will feature both silent and live auctions as well as live music from the Frank Ray Band and an opportunity to hit the dance floor, all while supporting local students through the scholarships financed through gala proceeds. The meal for the event is being catered by 1836 Texas Kitchen.

The Smith County Area Go Texan committee was formed in 2014 and has presented 40 recipients with a total of $277,000 in scholarships.

In 2018, a total of nine scholarships were presented by Smith County Area Go Texan to local Class of 2018 graduates, including $5,000 scholarships awarded to Katherine Dulany, Brook Hill; Courtney Eeds, Whitehouse; Kathryn Kuczkowski, Bullard; Natalie Lim, Grace; Wade Linsott, Whitehouse; Katherine McLeod, Whitehouse; Conner White, Bullard and John Womack, Troup.

Shayna Ballin of Whitehouse was the big winner of scholarship money from Smith County Area Go Texan this year, earning herself a $20,000 scholarship.

Dulany, daughter of Ken and Lori Dulany, will attend Baylor University in Waco and major in corporate communications.

Kuczkowski, daughter of Kristen and Peter Kuczkowski, will attend Texas A&M University – College Station and study biomedical engineering, while also playing in the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.

White, son of Tisha and Kerry White, also plans to attend Texas A&M and hopes to major in aerospace engineering.

A number of local graduates have benefitted from scholarships through Smith County Area Go Texan in recent years, including Hunter Ganske, Erin Johnson, and Hannah Lloyd in 2017 ($5,000 each); Spencer Dempsey and Samantha Spiller in 2016 ($5,000 each); and Victoria Brown and Juliann Hill ($1,000 each).

Smith County Area Go Texan is an all volunteer organization which is associated with and serves to promote the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Local committee members do not chose scholarship recipients.

Current committee members include Dr. John Alexander, Duane Barber, Dr. John Camp, Kara Camp, Susan Davis, Pam Frederick, Wade Frederick, Hollie Gambino, Gary Hettenbach, Kathy Hettenbach, Ken Langley, Betty Odom, Sherri Reed, John Tucker, and Wanda Tucker.

The organization is primarily a fundraising committee, with openings for those willing to commit to the time and effort necessary.

Gala tickets cost $100 each and include a meal, drinks and gift bag. A table for 10 can be purchased for $1,000 and allows for 10 people and includes sponsorship.

Sponsors will be featured in a video during the gala and will be permitted to place a banner on display. It is expected that 500 people will be in attendance and those wishing to attend are encouraged to purchase tickets early.

For ticket information, to join the Smith County Area Go Texan committee or other information regarding Smith County Area Go Texan, send an email to info@smithcoagt.org or contact Chuck Osborn at (903) 839-3000 or (903) 530-2688.

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