National Wild Turkey Federation gives away $500 scholarshipPublished 12:01am Sunday, February 16, 2014
Vidalia — Chantry Simpson is one step closer to reaching his goal — going to college with as little debt as possible.
Chantry, a senior at Vidalia High School, won a $500 scholarship from the National Wild Turkey Federation Feb. 7 at the foundation’s annual banquet.
The scholarship is given each year to one student the NWTF deems the perfect candidate.
The NWTF looked at Concordia Parish student’s GPA, community service hours, letters of recommendation and a written essay before making the choice.
NWTF events coordinator Melissa Tarver said Simpson was a top-notch candidate.
“He’s a volunteer at (Bayou Cocodrie) refuge, and he had perfect recommendations,” Tarver said.
Chantry said he believes the essay helped persuade the committee that he deserved the scholarship.
“I had to write a three-page essay on how I got into liking wildlife and what my plans were in that field,” he said. “It was between two or three (finalists), and I had the best one.”
Chantry is a member of the Vidalia High School BETA Club,the Ignite club and he also played football for the Vikings as an offensive and defensive lineman. While juggling his many extra-curricular activities, Simpson still finds time to work part time at the Vidalia Market.
Tarver said Chantry was aware that he won the scholarship before officially receiving it at the banquet, but he was still excited.
Chantry plans to attend Louisiana Tech University in the fall and major in wildlife and forestry management.
His mom, Threasa “Tee” Simpson, said Chantry wants to do whatever he can to make sure his career involves the great outdoors.
“All of his life, he grew up in the outdoors atmosphere and he loves hunting and fishing,” Threasa said.
Chantry said he is grateful for the home he grew up in and having the opportunity to appreciate the outdoors.
Chantry has been on the committee for the Concordia Delta Longbeards chapter of the NWTF for four years, choosing to be part of it after spending so much time at Bayou Cocodrie.
“I signed up for NWTF because they do a handicapped-hunt, and I like doing it because I like to give back when I can,” Chantry said. “I like to hunt, and it’s helping other people enjoy what I love and gives them an opportunity to do what they normally can’t.”
With so much time spent at the refuge, Chantry said he could see himself making a career at a refuge.
“I’m hoping I can be a game warden or manage a wildlife facility,” he said.
The $500 he received from the NWTF is a small step to his career goal, and Chantry said he’s glad he was able to get part of his 2014 fall quarter tuition paid for.
More importantly, Threasa said she is proud of Chantry’s accomplishments.
“Me and his father (John) are very proud parents,” Threasa said. “He’s a very hard working young man who’s looking forward to a bright future and looking forward to bettering himself.”
The NWTF also gave away a lifetime Fishing and Hunting license to Hailey Hodges.
Tarver said the NWTF had several volunteers from Trinity Episcopal Day School, Vidalia High School, Tensas Academy and Monterey help set up tables and serve food.
“Thanks to (all of the volunteers) for their service, this is their third year participating at the banquet,” she said. “Thanks to the community, they all pulled together, and we had a great event.”