The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Scene

August 8, 2012

Local students honored at 4-H Banquet

PALESTINE — Local students were recognized for their leadership, achievements and hard work during the annual 4-H Awards Banquet Tuesday at Southside Baptist Church.

The banquet spotlights the work of the seven Anderson County 4-H clubs during the 2011-2012 4-H year — including Cayuga 4-H, Elkhart 4-H, Ioni Creek 4-H, Neighborhood 4-H, Dogwood 4-H, Harmony-Broyles Chapel 4-H and Old Cayuga 4-H. This includes more than 140 Anderson County 4-Hers.

Two long-time 4-H members received the Gold Star Award — the highest county level award in 4-H club work. In order to be eligible for the Gold Star Award, a 4-Her must be at least 15 years old, have completed two projects, and have met strict criteria in leadership, citizenship and community service. Award winners were selected based on eligibility and excellence in 4-H work as evidenced in their 4-H record books and their award interviews.

Gold Star awards were presented to Old Cayuga 4-H Club member Cota Wilburn, son of Tonya and Steve Ray, and Cayuga 4-H Club member Breck Alexander, son of James and Audry Alexander.

Wilburn is a 8-year 4-H member, having served actively in 4-H on the county, district and state levels. His main projects include breeding heifers, swine, vet science and leadership. He has been involved with District 4-H Leadership Lab, Teen Retreat and State 4-H Round-Up. He served as the 4-H County Council president for the 2011-12 year.

“I’ve been trying to win this award the past two years. It’s a great achievement for me and I look forward to going to the Gold Star Banquet and meet the other representatives from around the state in September,” Wilburn said. “4-H is great way to expose leadership to youth in our county. 4-H isn’t just about getting dirty with animals.”

Breck Alexander is an 8-year member of the Cayuga 4-H Club. He has been involved in beef, swine, poultry, wildlife, sportsfishing, shooting sports, photography and food and nutrition projects. He enjoys raising and showing his steers with his family the best. He has held numerous officer positions in his club and has served on the county council as vice president and secretary.

“I think it’s amazing. I feel very blessed. I give all credit to my parents, the community and the chapter. Without them, I would not be here,” Breck Alexander said after the awards banquet.

The second-highest county award given in the county 4-H program is the Silver Star Award. It is given based on leadership, project activity, community service and 4-H participation throughout their 4-H career.

Silver Star awards were presented to Old Cayuga 4-H Club member Chance Harding, son of Leigh and Danny Harding, and Cayuga 4-H Club member Courtney Wilkins, daughter of Donna and Eric Hutcherson.

Chance Harding is an 8-year member of Old Cayuga 4-H. His main projects include swine, market rabbits and vet science. He has been involved as a leader in his club and has participated at the county and district levels.

Wilkins is a 4-year member of Cayuga 4-H Club. Her main projects this year were lambs, swine, goats and heifers.

All of the Gold Star and Silver Star award winners also were credited for their community service activities and leadership skills.

Sheriff Greg Taylor was named the 2012 Friend of 4-H. The Friend of 4-H Award is given each year to a person or group outside of the immediate 4-H family who has made a significant contribution to the 4-H program.

“He believes in the leadership potential of the 4-Hers and believe they will become great citizens,” Wilburn said when presenting the award. “Throughout many years, Sheriff Taylor has continued to be a supporter of the 4-H program. Each year he helps recognize the accomplishments of the youth in our program. He believes strongly in the mission of 4-H and how it helps Anderson County youth grow into responsible leaders of our community.”

The 4-H Leader of the Year Award was presented to Old Cayuga 4-H leader Leigh Harding. The award is given annually to a 4-H leader who shows outstanding leadership within the county 4-H program.

“This year, our 4-H Leader of the Year goes to a lady who has served as a volunteer leader in the county for eight years. She volunteers countless hours of her time to help all 4-Hers with their projects. She assists with club and county activities and is always available to help 4-Hers, parents and extension agents,” award presenter Tonya Ray said. “She is a hard worker and always brings a positive attitude to get the job done. She has donated countless hours at every rodeo, parade and 4-H activity both on the club and county level. She also stepped up and took the lead of the Veterinary Science Program and is doing an outstanding job.”

The 2012 Rookie of the Year Award was presented to Justin McGuire, member of Elkhart 4-H Club and the son of John and Connie McGuire. The award is given to a first-year 4-H member who complete a 4-H record book and is selected as the outstanding first-year member by the interview judges.

During his first year, he has been active in food and nutrition and meat goat projects. He received first place at the Anderson County Food Show and fourth place at the District Food Show. He also was an active leader on the Food Challenge team which he and his team members won third place at district competition. He also has participated in numerous community service activities.

The 2012 Graduating Senior Award went to Brady Alexander, a nine-year member of Cayuga 4-H and the son of Warren and Audry Alexander. He has excelled in his leadership roles throughout his 4-H career by serving as president, vice president, treasurer, reporter and council delegate. He also served on the county council.

He was a Gold Star Award recipient in 2010. Throughout his 4-H career, he participated in several projects including wildlife, sportsfishing, swine, poultry, photography and food and nutrition. Showing steers in this beef project was his favorite. He was highly involved with community service activities through 4-H as well. He was presented with a monogrammed 4-H bag to keep as memory of years spent in Anderson County 4-H.

The 2012 “I Dare You” Leadership Award was presented to J.B. Alexander, a 5-year member of Cayuga 4-H Club and the son of James and Audry Alexander. His main projects include beef, swine and wildlife. He has had many leadership experiences by teaching other 4-Hers about his 4-H projects. He has served several positions in the club and has been involved in community service projects throughout the year.

The “I Dare You” Leadership Award was first offered in 1941 by William H. Danforth, a successful businessman who dared young people to achieve their highest potential and influence others through lives of leadership and service. The “I Dare You”  Leadership Award recognizes those who, with a little encouragement, are ready to see themselves as leaders. A copy of the “I Dare You” book written by Danforth was presented along with the award.

Ten Anderson County 4-H members received achievement awards. These individuals each completed a 4-H record book in June where they were judged at the county level. Eight of the books competed at the district level and two advanced and will compete in the state competition that will be held today. These record books keep detailed records of events and activities in which the kids have participated in throughout the year.

Those receiving the achievement award were: J.B. Alexander, beef; Breck Alexander, beef; Brady Alexander, beef; Cota Wilburn, beef; Channa Robinson, citizenship/civic education; Justin McGuire, food and nutrition; Casey Lane, goat (advanced to state); Caraline Robinson, plants and animals; Courtney Wilkins, sheep; Chance Harding, swine (advanced to state).

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