‘Where I Was Meant to Be’

Emma Self Wins Warner University’s Royal Cup Scholarship


Emma Self, a 2023 graduate of Bartow High School and Florida FFA Area IV Vice President, has been awarded the 2024 Warner University Royal Cup. This is a very prestigious accomplishment that boasts a four-year full scholarship to the university. Self will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Studies with a minor in Education to become an Agriculture teacher. Her passion for agriscience was born within the walls of a classroom, and she hopes to ignite that love in students of her own. 

“This scholarship is the whole reason I’m going to Warner University,” she says. “It helped me choose a college. It’s a huge blessing; it’s awesome.” 

The Royal Cup is a scholarship contest for students who have excelled scholastically and in extracurricular activities. Students must maintain a certain grade-point average and test scores to participate. Forty students competed this year. The competition entails a group interview and a timed essay. These components are then judged and scored to determine a winner. 

“I interviewed her, and she’s just an amazing individual. I’ve seen her grow for a while now in school and now she’s a state FFA officer. She’s a great person, and she’ll make a real impact on this world,” says Justin Sharpless, Department Chair and Assistant Professor in Agricultural Studies at Warner University.

Self explains why Warner in particular will help her achieve her goals.

“Warner University will help provide the foundation for becoming not only a good teacher, but a professional in the industry. The people are so amazing and the professors are so knowledgeable. They will help me become the best teacher I can be.”

She continues, saying, “It just became abundantly clear that this was where I was meant to be.” 

Carole McKenzie, the executive director of the Polk County Farm Bureau, says that part of the mission of Polk County Farm Bureau is to cultivate the future leadership of the agriculture community. 

“We believe that Emma is a wonderful example of what we hope our future leaders will look like,” McKenzie says. “Emma has been engaged with the Farm Bureau for many years through her participation in youth speech contests, Agri-Fest, and many volunteer service occasions. Watching Emma grow over the years in her passion for agriculture and her dedication to her peers and her community, has been a true pleasure. We look forward to the many more great things we know we will see from her in the future.”

Self says this past year of serving as a state officer has given her so much and brought so many amazing people into her life. 

“I think one of the biggest things it’s taught me is humility. I think if I had gone straight into college, I don’t think I would have learned humility and service. I think this way I’m able to do what Warner is all about, which is to serve others and have a heart of service.”

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