The following story was posted by WHSV TV-3 on June 4, 2020. Bryse Vrolijk, class of 2020, is the first EMHS graduate to earn this national recognition. See the WHSV story online here.
Bryse’s biology teacher, Dr. Wendy Stapleton, says this about Bryse: “The FFA motto is ‘Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.’ In my 20 years of teaching, I have seen no other student who better exemplifies the FFA motto making him a deserving recipient of their award to honor and support him as a representative of their organization. Bryse began his learning about agriculture early from his family farm and quickly transitioned into “doing” and “earning” as he began his own goat herd. He has an empathetic heart to serve that I witnessed as he led our school community service club in various service projects. Not only has he lived the motto but he will continue to do so in the future as he plans to commit himself to the education required to be equipped to serve the farm community as a veterinarian.”
ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Each year Future Farmers of America selects 18 students for a national scholarship and this year an Eastern Mennonite High School graduate is a recipient.
The locally owned Domino’s in Harrisonburg is a sponsor of the scholarship. Becca Miller, who owns the Harrisonburg franchise, said it has been very important for the company to work with future farmers.
“Without farmers, there’s no pizza, so we were really trying to support our wheat and dairy and tomato farmers,” Miller said.
One of 2020’s recipients, Bryse Vrolijk has been heavily involved in the local FFA since he joined. He was the president of his local chapter as well as the Rockingham County federation.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to receive this scholarship. I can’t say that enough. Without scholarship opportunities like this, my education wouldn’t be possible,” Vrolijk said.
Miller said she was happy when she found out a local grad would receive the help this year.
“When I received it, I recognized the name as a family I’ve known for a really long time in the Valley, so it was really exciting,” Miller said.
Vrolijk will continue his education at the University of Tennessee. He will study animal science in the fall has a goal to go into veterinary medicine.
“I’m just so excited to have the opportunity to go to a place where I feel like I can push myself but also see myself with a future after studying there, so this scholarship with help with that opportunity and my future goals will be achieved,” Vrolijk said. “I love the feeling of helping. Seeing an animal struggle just breaks my heart, so knowing that you can help that you can help that animal and how you can help it is my biggest goal.”
His love of animals started at a young age when someone gave him a goat. He started his own herd in second grade and now has 45 goats. While he prepares for college, he is selling goats to help him pay for tuition and has made deals with other farmers to take care of some of his goats until he is finished with school.