Goliad High School student Carolyn Swize wins Department of Agriculture GROW award
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For more information about the Texas Department of Agriculture's GROW award or to nominate a middle school or high school student, visit TexasAgriculture.gov.
A conversation with Carolyn Swize makes one thing clear: The Goliad High School senior has big goals in life.
"I want to go out and change the world," she said. "I want to make it better."
And the 17-year-old's ongoing work and aspirations have brought recognition at the state level.
Carolyn recently received the Texas Department of Agriculture's GROW award, which goes out to students who demonstrate leadership and excellence both inside and outside the classroom, according to a Department of Agriculture news release.
The news came as a surprise for Carolyn, who said her ag teacher, Dawn Butler, nominated her for the win.
"I didn't realize people actually recognized what I did," she said Monday. "I'm really excited that I got this."
Carolyn serves as luminary chairwoman with the Goliad County Relay for Life Council, as an athletic trainer at school and keeps active with a number of other organizations, including the National Honor Society, Future Farmers of America and her church. She also serves as parliamentarian for her local 4-H club and a delegate with the county council.
With an agricultural background - she was raised on a farm and shows both goats and heifers during the Goliad County Fair - that element of her life also keeps her busy.
As part of a recent FFA project, Carolyn created a portable aquaponic greenhouse, according to the news release. The project, which allows her to grow vegetables with water fortified by nutrients from fish waste - no soil needed - is one she plans to take to agricultural mechanics shows.
Although she admitted her schedule keeps her busy, she said she enjoys it.
"It gives me something to do," said Carolyn, who also holds down a part-time job. "I like being involved in the community. I love volunteering."
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, in the release, congratulated her for her win.
"The future of our great state rests in the hands of students like Carolyn who embody the character and work ethic that will continue to keep Texas at the forefront of today's competitive global economy," he said.
Carolyn said she is excited about the months ahead.
March brings her final year showing animals at the Goliad County Fair, she said, but then comes graduation.
Afterward, she plans to attend Texas A&M University, where she will major in ecological restoration and minor in environmental geosciences.
"I want to restore damaged habitats," she said of her ultimate career goal. "I want to help."