Take Stock In Children Raises Money

CALHOUN COUNTY-- "Take Stock in Children" is a nonprofit organization that provides low income students an opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty by attending college.

The program identifies potential recipients when they're in middle school.

Calhoun County has come up with a unique way to raise money for the scholarships.

Stephanie Brogden wears many hats.

"Secretary treasurer for Florida Panhandle Saddle Club and I'm also on the Take Stock in Children for Calhoun County Scholarship Board."

Take Stock selects worthy students for the scholarship program when they're in 8th grade. They're assigned a mentor throughout high school. If they stay out of trouble, and make the grades, they're guaranteed a scholarship for their first two years of college.

"There are certain qualifications you have to meet- certain guidelines - income guidelines. They will go before an interview panel and a student is selected. They receive a two year scholarship to Chipola College," Brogden said.

But each county has to come up with part of the money.

"Florida pre-paid education system matches dollar for dollar up to $5000."

So the organization is always looking for ways to raise money.

This year Brogdon married Take Stock with the Florida Panhandle Saddle Club Rodeo in Blountstown.

"I thought I'd put all of our efforts together and so we hosted the first Miss Stock Yard rodeo pageant back in March. It was a fund raiser for 'Take Stock in Children.'"

The pageant raised more than a thousand dollars.

"These ladies are ambassadors- they are to represent and promote Take Stock in Children Scholarship Fund and also the Florida Panhandle Rodeo."

Tiny Miss Stockyard Kiera Cox is brushing up on her roping skills with a few tips from Little Miss Stockyard Avery Lane.

They're excited about this weekend's rodeo. But the rodeo and pageant have a special meaning for Aubree Bay.

She was selected for the "Take Stock" program last year and is the Miss Stockyard pageant winner this year.

"It's really an honor and a blessing in itself because through this I'm able to go to Chipola Community College and use this scholarship that will pay for my tuition which is a load off of me and my parents," Bay said.

When she heard about the pageant, the Altha 10th grader, and avid horse rider, knew she wanted to help.

"She said I don't know anything about this but I really would like to enter cause I want to support my scholarship foundation."

"I've never won a pageant before so that's exciting that it has to do with something I love which is supporting my scholarship and rodeo and horses.

The rodeo is this Saturday the 19th at 7 p.m at the Skeet Davis Arena at Sam Atkins Park in Blountstown.