More than 250 Georgia 4-H’ers met in Atlanta July 21-22 to vie for 47 coveted “Master 4-H’er” titles, the youth organization’s highest honor.
Students from across the state competed in a variety of categories, from photography to public speaking, and communications to companion animal science. They gave 12-minute demonstrations and prepared portfolios of their research and service project areas. Expert judges evaluated their work and interviewed them.
“We had a wonderful week with young people competing for Master 4-H status. We've been entertained by 4-H'ers, inspired by 4-H'ers and we know the future is bright with 4-H,” said Arch Smith, Georgia state 4-H leader. “For all these children, it's been a between five- and eight-year journey. They've been looking forward to state competition for a while. And now some have won, and some didn't win. But for all of them, they now have a set of life skills that will be with them for years to come.”
When polled, most 4-H members say their experience in the club, administered through University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, builds their confidence and leadership skills, while allowing them to meet people from across the state.
“I have most enjoyed the learning experiences that 4-H has offered me and the friendships I have made,” said Alaina Alderman, a newly minted Master 4-H’er in the performing arts. “The 4-H organization has taught me many things, including the leadership skills that it takes to, in return, teach others what I have learned.”
No child has to pay to travel to or compete at Georgia 4-H State Congress because of a community of generous donors. Their support guarantees that any child who earns a spot in the state competition will be able to compete.
For more information about the many programs offered by Georgia 4-H visit www.georgia4h.org.
This year's winners, projects and donors — listed by their home counties — are:
- Alaina Alderman, daughter of David and June Alderman of Alma, won first place in Performing Arts – Vocal, sponsored by Frank Carter.
- Shelby Quakenbush, of Commerce, won first place in Sheep and Meat Goats, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Jim Williamson.
- Sarai Mapp, daughter of James and Bobbie Mapp of Milledgeville, won first place in Communications, sponsored by Julia Lucas, Hon. John Myers and Watler Reeves.
- Ben Lord, son of Bob and Dona Lord Fitzgerald, won first place in Performing Arts – Piano, sponsored by Six Flags Over Georgia.
- Trevor Barker, of Cochran, won first place in Human Development, sponsored by the Georgia Association of 4-H Agents.
- Drew Belflower, of Cochran, won first place in Family Resource Management, sponsored by the Sarah L. Huff Fund.
- Katie Wilson, daughter of DeeAnna and David Morgan of Statesboro, won first place in Photography, sponsored by Georgia Magazine.
- Michaela Pollex, of Waynesboro, won first place in Dairy and Milk Science, sponsored by Mr. and Dr. Henry Hibbs, the family of Bobby Gene McKissick and Angela Nesmith.
- Cynthia Eberly, daughter of Eldon and Eppie Eberly of Waynesboro, won first place in Fashion Revue, sponsored by the Georgia Master 4-H Club.
- Jake Conner, son of Harrileen Conner of Jackson, won first place in Food Safety and Preservation, sponsored by Houston County Extension, Emanuel County Extension, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Coleman, Pierce County Extension, and Mr. and Mrs. Gary Keve.
- Christopher Adam, son of Bao-Ling Adam of Martinez, won first place in Computer Inforamton Technology, sponsored by April Beggs, Jeffrey Burke, Jared Crapps, Bo Ryles and Jay Morgan.
- Clara Wurst, daughter of Randy and Vickie Wurst of Grovetown, won first place in Dairy Foods, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Bob Reid and the Georgia Ag Tag.
- Ashley Phillips, daughter of Rusty and Jennifer Phillips of Pitts, won first place in Entomology, sponsored by Georgia Pest Control, the Georgia Master 4-H Club and Allen Nasworthy.
- Allison Gilbert, daughter of Diana Cleghorne of Dawsonville, won first place in Housing, Equipment and Environment, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Bucky Cook.
- Anders Austinson, son of Paul and Tonya Austinson of Bainbridge, won first place in Fruits, Vegetables and Nuts, sponsored by the Meadows-Knox Family Fund.
- Charlie Baker, son of Gloria Baker and Charlie Baker III of Albany, won first place in Performing Arts – Dance, sponsored by Mr. And Mrs. Burley Page.
- Sam Hopkins, of Douglasville, won first place in Food for Fitness, sponsored by the M.K. “Curly” Cook Foundation in memory of Sandra B. Cook.
- Stephanie Rivenburg, daughter of Ann and Mark Rivenburg of Swainsboro, won first place in Textiles and Merchandising, sponsored Mr. and Mrs. Michael Poole and The Daniel Ashley and Irene Houston Jewell Memorial Foundation.
- Alyssa Pawlik, daughter of Carol and Steve Pawlik of Cumming, won first place in Horses, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Patrick Lucas.
- Holly Reeves, daughter of Terri Jo and Michael Reeves of Cumming, won first place in Wildlife and Marine Science, sponsored by the Georgia 4-H Foundation.
- Chase LeCroy, of Hartwell, won first place in Forest Resources and Wood Science, sponsored by Bill Lott and Paulding Timber Products.
- Zach Tellano, son of Ruth and Randy Daniel of Hartwell, won first place in General Recreation, sponsored by the Georgia Recreation and Park Association and Six Flags Over Georgia.
- Avani Patel, daughter of Hema and Ashok Patel of Tallapoosa, won first place in Arts and Crafts, sponsored by Mr. and Ms. Ted Jenkins, Marian Fisher, Hon. John Myers and Jay Morgan.
- Mayah Waltower, daughter of Ral and Shirley Waltower of McDonough, won first place in Physical, Biological and Earth Sciences, sponsored by the Georgia Electric Membership Cooperative.
- James Hancock, son of John and Lori Hancock of Irwinville, won first place in Veterinary Science, sponsored by the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association.
- Ben Hancock, son of John and Lori Hancock of Irwinville, won first palce in Poultry and Egg Science, sponsored by the Georgia Poultry Federation.
- Tristan Gaskins, son of Melinda and Robert Gaskins of Jefferson, won first place in the Science of Engineering and Mechanics, sponsored by Mike and Karen Garrett.
- Caroline Sweat, daughter of Donnie and Katy Sweat of Wrightsville, won first place for Performing Arts – General, sponsored by Elizabeth Hopkins.
- Amber Smith, daughter of Daivd and Julie Smith of Albany, won first place in Dog Care and Training, sponsored by the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association.
- Tamia Pena, daughter of Valerie Harper of Valdosta, won first place in Flowers, Shrubs and Lawns, sponsored by the Georgia Development Authority.
- Alexis Carmichael, daughter of Erica Carmichael of Valdosta, won first place in Sports, sponsored by the Clover Glove Race Series.
- Hayden Bailey, son of Jeff and Sheila Rucker of Hull, won first place in Plant and Soil Sciences, sponsored by the Georgia Plant Food Educational Society.
- Flannery Peay, of Oxford, won first place in Performing Arts – Other Instrumental, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Greg Price.
- Isabel Rutledge, daughter of Sam and Tammy Rutledge of Stockbridge, won first place in Companion Animal Science, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Terry England, Allen Nasworthy, Anna Reddish, and Dr. and Mrs. William H. Sell.
- Annabeth Branton, daughter of Ray and Anna Branton of Griffin, won first place in Workforce Preparation, sponsored by Emerson Climate Technologies.
- Zafar Alam, son of Dr. and Mrs. Syed Alam of Americus, won first place in Health, sponsored by Greg Jones, in loving memory of George and Vera Jones.
- Devon Merrill, son of Kimberly and Steve Bradley of Glennville, won first place in Outdoor Recreation, sponsored by Casey Mull.
- Devon Lockett, of Collins, won first place in Food Fare, sponsored by the Georgia Development Authority.
- Jake Moore, son of Marty and Melinda Moore of Tifton, won first place for Festive Foods for Health, sponsored by Publix Super Markets Charities.
- Hannah Rucker, daughter of Keith and Julie Rucker of Tifton, won first place for Target Sports, sponsored by the Callaway Foundation, Catharine Linz and the family of Col. James Boddie.
- Erin Ricks, daughter of Brantley and Cindy Ricks of Lyons, won first place in Pork Production, sponsored by Houston County Extension, Emanuel County Extension, Pierce County Extension, Arch Smith and the Georgia Pork Producers Association.
- Brooks Patterson, son of Chris and Amy Patterson of Blairsville, won first place in International, sponsored by Eleanor Smith and the Georgia Master 4-H Club.
- Abhyjit Keepal, son of Surinder and Gurpreet Kheepal of Blairsville, won first place in Public Speaking, sponsored by Doug Ashworth, the Farm Credit Associations of Georgia, Raymond Lee, Jr., Kaleb McMichen and Cydcor USA.
- Julia Yearout, daughter of Ann and James Yearout of Chickamauga, won first place in Safety, sponsored by Mr. an Mrs. Greg Gaines.
- Dalton Green, son of Michael and Shelley Green of Ringgold, won first place in Beef, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Jim Williamson.
- Katherine Harris, daughter of Bartho and Jennifer Harris of Parrott, won first place in History, sponsored by Beth Scott-Brown in honor of John Darius Miller Scott and in memory of Darius Miller.
- Kelly Childers, daughter of Dale and Julie Childers of Rochelle, won first place in Environmental Sciences, sponsored by Houston County Extension, Emanuel County Extension, Pierce County Extension and the Georgia Cooperative Council.
(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)