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Amanda Johnson looks to higher education after winning award

For the past eight years, The Big Fresno Fair has recognized 4.0 students through the 4.0 and Above program, Oct. 2. This ninth annual event rewards Fresno County students with free entry tickets to the fair on opening day, as well as their name in a raffle for iPads, laptops, gift cards, scholarship money and this year, a 2020 Toyota Corolla.

Paige Provost | The Feather Online

The 4.0 and Above Program started at the Big Fresno Fair nine years ago, rewarding students through scholarships, prizes and fair tickets. Freshman Amanda Johnson won $3,000, Oct. 2.

Campus freshman Amanda Johnson took advantage of the free fair ticket. She did not expect to win anything, but entered the raffle anyway and proceeded to enjoy the fair.  

“I got the invite a couple days ago during first period,” Johnson said. “I thought I might as well go even though I probably would not win anything. At that moment, I just went because of the free fair ticket. I am a big food person, so I enjoy that part of the fair a lot.” 

Later, Johnson attended the name drawing along with other 4.0 students, hoping to walk away with a prize. To Johnson’s surprise, her name was announced as a winner. 

“They announced the winners of the drawings over loudspeaker,” Johnson continued. “Everyone who entered the drawing was in the same area. When they called my name, I was in shock and didn’t even realize it was my name at first.”

Brayden talks with Amanda Johnson about her $3,000 scholarship, Oct. 9. Johnson retells her experience of attending the Big Fresno Fair and winning the prize earlier last week.

Johnson received $3,000 in scholarship money from the program. Winning this money reinforces her view of her future education.   

“The scholarship money made me think more about where I wanted to go to school,” Johnson said. “I don’t know where yet, but I am thinking about going to law school. Winning $3,000 makes me optimistic about my future and now I have a vision about what my future will look like.”

Amanda’s mother Stephanie Johnson retells the events leading up to Amanda receiving her award.  

“We walked into the fairgrounds’ grandstands and Amanda put her entry into the barrel, along with hundreds of other Valley students that had achieved a 4.0 GPA,” Stephanie said. “The crowd was pumped up and extremely excited. Several names were called and it was near the end of the night when Amanda’s name was called. She was very excited to be given the opportunity and actually win a $3,000 scholarship that was provided by Valley Children’s Hospital.”

In the following tweet, FCS principal Amy Deffenbacher hands out Big Fresno Fair tickets to the students who achieved a 4.0 GPA.

Deffenbacher, pleased with the success of a FC student, comments on her appreciation of the 4.0 & Above program and how she appreciates Johnson’s success.   

“I am so thankful that The Big Fresno Fair chooses to include us in this program along with the many other schools present in the Valley,” Deffenbacher said. “I’m happy that several of our students took advantage of the opportunity. It is so exciting that she won because many of us assume we will never win anyway so we don’t try. It is an honor to have our school represented amongst the winners that night.”

For a full list of sponsors of the 4.0 and Above program, visit fresnofair.com.

For more articles, read Aimee Castañeda displays passion through singing, performing and 35th annual homecoming unifies community, supports local nonprofit.

Brayden Iest can be reached via Twitter and email.

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