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Cook-off To Warm Grieving Hearts

Oct. 27, 2010
SHSU Media Contact: Sara Thompson

Heath Schielack

If you stepped foot into one of the agriculture and industrial sciences buildings at Sam Houston State University at the beginning of the semester, you may have felt looming grief in the air or seen in it the faces of the students and faculty.

Days before the return to school, the department lost a beloved friend, student and inspiration.

Now, members of the department have united to find an enlightening way to turn their collective sadness into a well-suited memorial for Heath “Smiley” Schielack.

On Nov. 12-13, the Ag Business Club will host the Inaugural Heath Schielack Memorial Cook-off at the Walker County Fairgrounds.

Schielack touched many lives during his time at SHSU, especially those of the students and faculty in the agriculture department who remember him best for his radiating positivity and pervasive smile.

“His outlook on life helped motivate many of the students and faculty to keep trying, to keep working, to be thankful and to smile,” said Isaac Serna, Schielack’s friend and fellow student.

The 23-year-old agricultural business major died Aug. 19 from complications from an illness.

“Because of the close-knit atmosphere that our department endorses, he was a brother to all 1,200 plus agriculture and industrial science students,” said Serna.

“Heath’s passing has drawn our department closer together in both the grief of his death and the celebration of his life.” said Agribusiness Club faculty adviser, Michelle Mullins Santiago.

Because Schielack was an enthusiastic participant in various cook-offs alongside his family and friends, the Ag Business Club decided it would be an appropriate remembrance to honor his memory and to raise money for the establishment of the Heath Schielack Memorial Fund.

Proceeds from the memorial fund will go toward the creation of the Heath Schielack Memorial Service Award. According to Mullins Santiago, the purpose of the award is to recognize a current SHSU agribusiness student who possesses the same qualities that Heath was loved for – his generosity towards others; his service to his friends, club and department; and his enthusiasm for life.

Long term, the Ag Business Club hopes to raise enough funds to establish a scholarship in Schielack’s memory.

The cost of the event is a $100 entry fee and $10 general admission. More than $500 in cash and prizes will be given to the winning contestants. Members of the SHSU Department of Agriculture and Industrial Sciences hope the cook-off will serve as a reminder of his inspiration to the students and friends that knew him and an introduction to those that did not.

For more information or to register please contact Isaac Serna at 254.744.8179 or visit the “2010 Heath Schielack Memorial Cook-off” Facebook page. Rules and entry forms for the event are available at http://www.tgcbca.org.

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