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Commissioner Miller Honors Kelton And Kolby Marek of Blanco Middle School With ‘GROW’ Award (3/16/2016)

AUSTIN - Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller today honored eighth grade twin brothers Kelton and Kolby Marek, from Blanco Middle School in Blanco, Texas, as the winners of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s 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 Kelton and Kolby for earning this month’s GROW award,” Commissioner Miller said. “Thanks to young leaders like these two brothers the future of Texas looks brighter than ever. I couldn’t be more proud to honor Kelton and Kolby, as they symbolize everything I look for in a great leader — a strong work ethic, dedication to community and family, and a can-do attitude.”

Kelton and Kolby were selected from hundreds of Texas students for demonstrating leadership in their school activities, as well as their commitment to community service. The brothers were nominated by Blanco Middle School Principal Keitha St. Clair who noted their dedication to giving back to their community, while also actively participating in athletics, Junior FFA and maintaining good grades.

“These two young men truly deserve recognition for their character, their volunteerism, their school leadership and their outstanding work ethic,” St. Clair said. “It is my honor to nominate both of them for this prestigious award.”

In her nomination, St. Clair noted that the brothers have many common interests and often work hand-in-hand on projects. Both are members of the National Junior Honor Society and serve on the Student Council. Kelton and Kolby also are members of the school’s football and basketball teams. Their volunteer service includes keeping the books at varsity baseball games and working as student aides in the front office. Additionally, both are UIL District Champions for individual and team events.

As part of their Junior FFA program, Kelton and Kolby participate in numerous livestock judging contests around the state and have attended district, area and state conventions and camps. They are both active in raising and showing livestock, as well as managing a small cattle herd of their own. They also exhibit steers and pigs at local, county, prospect and major livestock shows across the state.

While they often work together, the brothers are each leaving their own individual mark. Kelton serves as the Student Council vice president. He also has finished in the top five at the San Antonio Livestock Exposition Public Speaking Contest for two years.

“I am very appreciative to win this huge award,” said Kelton. “It is such an honor.” 

Kolby was recently awarded the “Spurs’ Camper of the Week” for his work ethic at summer training camp. He has also been awarded the Blanco Middle School Panther Spirit Award several times.

“This is a huge surprise,” said Kolby. “I am very excited and grateful.” 

St. Clair said the brothers’ character and dedication to giving back to their community is second-to-none. After the Blanco River flooded in 2015, leaving a wake of devastation in its path, Kelton and Kolby volunteered numerous hours to assist with clean-up efforts. Additionally, they have volunteered to do yard work for elderly community members, donated silent auction items for fundraisers and assisted with the local Wild Game Dinner Youth Fundraiser.

The brothers are fans of Texas A&M University and Tarleton State University. Both hope to attend college on ag scholarships. Kelton hopes to become a high school ag teacher or go into some type of agri-business, while Kolby wants to become a high school athletic coach.

For more on Kelton and Kolby’s accomplishments, click here. The Texas Department of Agriculture 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.

To nominate a promising middle or high school student, visit TDA’s website at TexasAgriculture.gov. One GROW award winner is chosen monthly. Nominations for next month’s award are due April 1, 2016