Commissioner Miller Honors Olivia Wise-Dent of James Madison High School With ‘GROW’ Award (5/16/2016)

AUSTIN - Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller today honored Olivia Wise-Dent, a junior from James Madison High School in San Antonio, as the winner of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) monthly GROW award. The award Gives Recognition for Outstanding Work to middle and high school students who demonstrate leadership and excellence inside and outside the classroom.

“I have to tip my hat to Olivia for earning this month’s GROW award,” Commissioner Miller said. “Thanks to young leaders like Olivia the future of Texas looks brighter than ever. I couldn’t be more proud to honor Olivia, as she symbolizes everything I look for in a great leader — a strong work ethic, dedication to community and family, and a can-do attitude.”

Olivia was chosen from hundreds of Texas students for demonstrating leadership in her school activities, as well as her commitment to community service. Olivia was nominated for the GROW award by Janell McMullan, her agriculture science teacher and FFA advisor at James Madison High School.

“I am very excited and honored to be receiving this award,” Olivia said. “Agriculture is a passion of mine, and I am very excited to see what the rest of my high school tenure has to offer. I would encourage any and all students involved in FFA or 4-H to reach out and explore what your school and organization has to offer. Reach for the stars and your highest rewards will follow. Hard work pays off!”

In her nomination, McMullan said Olivia is a very motivated young woman who has the will, dedication and desire to succeed in every task she undertakes. Olivia is involved in numerous school organizations including FFA, where she is a Star Chapter Farmer and has participated in career development, veterinary science, leadership development, community service and agriculture awareness activities. She also represented Madison High FFA in many science fairs, including these competitions where she won first place: the San Antonio Livestock Show, the Houston Livestock Show, Alamo Regional Science Fair and the State Fair of Texas Science Competition.

McMullan said Olivia works well with both teachers and peers, and she is always willing to help others who are in need of assistance with their classes. Olivia is an excellent student who is able to effectively balance her busy extracurricular schedule while maintaining her academic studies. She has been rewarded for her hard work through her induction into the National Honor Society.

“Olivia’s balance of time and work is a true miracle in itself — she seems to always be at everything on time,” McMullan said. “Olivia is a leader and a very important part of the Madison FFA chapter and our school. I am very excited to see Olivia continue her involvement and growth as a young adult and a member of our community.”

Additionally, Olivia is very active in her community, where she volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, the local wildlife refuge, San Antonio Zoo and other various service-related activities that benefit people in her community and beyond.

After high school, Olivia has her sights set on attending Baylor University, Cornell University or Texas A&M University. She plans to major in biomedical sciences and earn degrees in both veterinary and human medicine. 

For more on Olivia’s accomplishments, click here. TDA established the GROW award to celebrate outstanding student leaders who demonstrate excellence in either their academic or extracurricular activities. Students can be nominated by community leaders such as teachers, coaches, school administrators, mayors, county judges or anyone else committed to recognizing youth leadership and achievement.

Between October and May each year, TDA selects one Texas student per month to receive the GROW award. Our next award will be given out in October 2016. Nominations will be due by Oct. 1, 2016. More information will be available in the fall. To learn more about GROW, click here