Top of the Morning, May 8, 2014

Top of the Morning, May 8, 2014

Cole Stalter is the recipient of the Gerald Henry Farm Leader of the Year scholarship.

Maybe in a few years, we'll be donating $1,000 in Stalter's name like we did Henry's at our Farm Leader of the Year banquet in March.

"It'd be awesome if I were to be given that honor as (Farm Leader of the Year)," Stalter said. "It's a fantastic program, a wonderful thing."

Stalter, a 19-year-old Fisher High grad and University of Illinois freshman who grew up on his family's farm between Gibson City and Fisher, can't wait to meet — and thank — Henry at the Champaign County Farm Bureau Foundation Scholarship Luncheon on June 6 in Champaign.

"From what I've read, he's a real involved guy," Stalter said. "I can appreciate that because I take pride in being involved."

At Fisher, Stalter was student council president and football captain. He was heavy into Fellowship of Christian Athletes and helped re-start the school's Future Farmers of America program.

His pace hasn't slowed at the UI, Stalter assuming leadership duties at IlliDell of Alpha Gamma Sigma, a fraternity geared toward agriculture.

Stalter will be asked to introduce himself at the CCFB Foundation banquet. "I'll say, 'I'm a dedicated individual from Central Illinois who loves agriculture and loves going to the University of Illinois,' " Stalter said.

The scholarship money helps make it possible.

"We have enough but the U of I is an expensive place; it puts a financial burden on me and my family," Stalter said. "To have people out there willing to help is awesome. I appreciate it more than those people who donate toward my education will ever know."

* * *

Those clever middle-school kids from Next Generation in Champaign, fresh off their first appearance at the National Science Bowl, have a chance to win a Scholastic Bowl state championship this weekend in Peoria. The regional and sectional champs are the only undefeated team at state — as well as the top seed.

The school will hold a pep assembly at 9:10 a.m. Friday.

* * *

Loren Tate has not backed out of his celebrity singing appearance. During the fifth-inning of tonight's Urbana-Centennial high school baseball game in Champaign, our longtime columnist will be joined (carried?) by daughter Lori and son Travis for a rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Game time has been moved up to 4:30 p.m.

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