VERSAILLES — Fifth-grade student Levi Barga, age 10, of Versailles was one of four students in the state to be selected to receive the fifth annual “Agriculture is Cool” scholarship award funded by the Ohio Expositions Commission Youth Reserve Program.
Levi was among dozens of students who submitted essays or creative stories about the “Agriculture is Cool” education program held during the 2016 Ohio State Fair in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), Ohio Farm Bureau and Ohio’s agricultural commodity groups.
Ohio State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler, Ohio Department of Agriculture Deputy Director Janelle Mead, and Ohio Farm Bureau Darke County Director Jill Smith, and other representatives, including Stacey French, Sharon Martin, Mark Bruce, and Tom Price were on hand at Versailles Middle School Thursday as Levi was presented with a $500 check during a special assembly at his school.
During the presentation, Levi read his essay to his classmates, which detailed what he learned about Ohio agriculture during his day at the Ohio State Fair this past summer.
“I was asked what county I lived in, which is Darke County,” Levi wrote. “One amazing thing about Darke County is that the famous sharpshooter, Annie Oakley was born there!”
“The best part of the whole adventure was when I finished it, and received ice cream, all of my work sure paid off!” Levi concluded.
Levi’s classmates, teachers and family — including his parents, grandparents, and siblings — filled the school’s theater to hear him read his essay and accept his award.
Michael Barga, Levi’s father, said, “We were surprised. It’s kind of a big deal considering there were only four [award winners]. We’re very proud of him.”
Strickler was pleased to see the school’s enthusiasm about Levi’s work and award.
“I’m very thankful to be able to come to the school here,” he said. “Levi did a great job. The students here are very knowledgeable. It makes me proud to be an Ohioan.”
Levi, who described himself as “excited and happy,” said he was not sure what he would do with the $500, but may put it aside for future schooling. He said he would like to eventually become an astronomer.