The Youth Education Committee of the Illinois Farm Bureau and its affiliates awarded 10 Illinois 4-H members with its Leadership, Citizenship, and Professionalism Award at a ceremony held Saturday, Oct. 20 in Champaign. In addition to the award, the winners participate in an elite leadership training.
The winners included Andrew Cunningham, Macon County; Katelyn Hamilton of Randolph County; Taylor Hartke of Effingham County; Parker Karrick of Marion County; Grace Koester of Randolph County; Jacob Larkin of Livingston County; Elaine Miller of Hamilton County; Sowmya Monroe of Winnebago County; Grace Skelton of Logan County; and Garrett Williams of Richland County.
Presenting the scholarships on behalf of the Illinois Farm Bureau was Jenny Webb, Farm Bureau membership and program specialist. In addition to her work in Farm Bureau, Jenny is a McLean County 4-H alumna and former Extension staff member.
About our winners:
Andrew Cunningham, Macon County
4-H has guided Andrew to his future career in politics and government. As county 4-H ambassador, he gained insight on the duties of politicians. He served on the student leadership committee and became a youth mentor at his high school. His participation inspired him to do more, so he became a camp counselor at a special needs camp. He says he was able to connect with a new group of people and help give them guidance in their everyday lives with genuine care and involvement.
Katelyn Hamilton of Randolph County
Katelyn is passionate about horse and animal sciences. She’s active in hippology and horse bowl and has competed in horse speaking events, including the American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio. Katelyn is considering a career dedicated to equine research or social work and would like to own a horse ranch for those who are suffering from mental health disease. She would like to focus on veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Taylor Hartke of Effingham County
Taylor has grown up in the agriculture industry and is preparing for a career in agriculture communications. Through her 4-H officer positions and opportunities, she is a confident speaker in front of various audiences. She sets and achieves the goals she aspires for her life. She dreams of showing the world how important agriculture is and present in our everyday lives. She knows this isn’t a small task, but she is convinced that she has been well prepared to tackle it.
Parker Karrick of Marion County
Parker knows, and has known for a long time, exactly what she wants: a career in agribusiness and agricultural communications. As she watches her peers struggle, Parker said she is ready for college because 4-H has guided her along a path to her future. A 4-H leader was the first to encourage her to learn public speaking and take on leadership roles. That’s all it took for Parker to begin competing and helping others achieve their goals.
Grace Koester of Randolph County
Sometimes one event helps focus our path. Grace saved for years to buy her own 4-H steer. As she worked to halter break, care, and show the steer, she realized she wanted a career in agriculture, but was uncertain which path to take. After attending the animal science track at Illinois 4-H Illini Summer Academies, she now knows she wants to specialize in animal production at Southern Illinois University.
Jacob Larkin of Livingston County
Jacob started the “Buddy Up” program in his 4-H club so that every member felt welcomed and understood what they should be doing. To him, everyone needed to feel they belonged for the club to really be successful. Each officer is partnered with a young member. The younger members gain experience and confidence and will be able to run the club in years to come. The officer knows they must be a positive role model. This has strengthened the group as a whole and members are staying longer.
Elaine Miller of Hamilton County
Elaine is grateful for the confidence and the great memories which 4-H has provided her. She appreciates the time she has been able to spend with her sister and other young members as she shares advice and encouragement with them. She recalls her cousins were her older role models, and now, she has fulfilled that role for others. Elaine plans to be a labor and delivery nurse. Elaine believes that being involved with her family and community has helped prepare her for the future.
Sowmya Monroe of Winnebago County
Sowmya sets very high goals for herself. She is a strong believer that with every experience she encounters, it further improves her skills, so in turn she jumps at every opportunity presented to her. She believes good leaders never stop learning! Sowmya is working diligently on her record submissions and improving her leadership skills to obtain her goals so she can one day attend National 4-H Congress.
Grace Skelton of Logan County
Grace balances school, athletics, 4-H, leadership, and community service. As a State 4-H Community Service Award winner last year, she attended National
4-H Congress in Atlanta. She serves on the State 4-H Youth Leadership Team. Her project work focuses on health projects, such as foods, nutrition, and overall well-being. Grace is planning on continuing her education in nursing.
Garrett Williams of Richland County
Garrett believes that setting goals is the key to success. 4-H prepared him to work hard with dedication and in cooperation with others. Garrett plans to attend community college before transferring to a 4-year university. He plans to work hard to have excellent grades and be competitive in the job market. He values hard work and learning, taking small steps which allow him to reach each goal efficiently and effectively.