Foundation awards $45,000 in 4-H scholarships at awards celebration ceremony

URBANA, Ill. – The career achievements of Illinois 4-H members were lauded at the Illinois 4-H Celebration of Excellence held on April 9 at the I Hotel & Conference Center.  The ceremony celebrated career achievements of 4-H members and the Illinois 4-H Foundation awarded $45,000 in scholarships as part of the celebration.

The scholarships are awarded to five Illinois 4-H members in nine focus categories and are based on merit and a demonstrated standard of 4-H excellence.

“My wife Janette and I give to the Illinois 4-H Foundation in honor of my parents and maternal grandparents,” says donor Kevin Rhoades, a Fayette County 4-H alum. “I saw what a difference 4-H made for all my extended family members growing up, and what it meant to my mother, Mary Ann, who was a leader for so many years.  We felt it was important to help provide resources for 4-H to continue to help bring those life skills and values to young people and future leaders from throughout Illinois.”

Adult and youth pose holding an award

State 4-H Award Winners

Forty-five young adults were chosen as scholarship winners in one of nine divisions of the State 4-H Award. Each winner receives a $1,000 scholarship.

The Animal Sciences award recognizes youth who have demonstrated and maintained a high standard of 4-H excellence and mastery in their animal science projects. The winners are:

  • Justin Irwin, Boone County
  • Lauren Wolter, Clinton County
  • Anna Curley, McDonough County
  • Emma Coursey, Warren County
  • Jacqueline Schertz, Woodford County

This award was sponsored by Tim & Belinda Carey, George Obernagel, Keith & Lissa Parr, and Mark & Lee Ann Gossett.

The Civil Engagement & Global Living award recognizes youth that have focused on 4-H work in service to/for others. The winners are:

  • Lydia Oker, Kendall County
  • Sydney Reppy, Kendall County
  • Anthony Joiner, Macoupin County
  • Carina Engst, McLean County
  • J Alden Knodle, Montgomery County

This award is sponsored Ron & Melanie Warfield and Nannette Armstrong.

The Creative & Performing Arts & Communications award recognizes youth that have focused their 4-H work on the arts and the art of communicating with others. The winners are: 

  • Elena Hevrdejs, Lake County
  • Austin McNamara, McHenry County
  • Nicole VandeWalker, McHenry County
  • Clare Montavon, Ogle County
  • Jorgi Dupureur, Tazewell County

This award is sponsored by Dee Murray, Kevin & Janette Rhoades in honor of Norman and Mary Ann Rhoades, and the Illinois 4-H Foundation Legacy of Leadership Endowment.

The Food Systems award focuses on youth who have focused on food production, processing, distribution, and access. The winners are:

  • Sophia Holmes, Cook County
  • Jenna Haas, Jo Daviess County
  • Emily Reppy, Kendall County
  • Lexi Cobin, Perry County
  • Callysta Borders, Union County

This award is sponsored by Bernie & Susan Heisner, Donna Mueller, Evelyn Brandt Thomas, Dr. Larry Hageman, and the Illinois 4-H Legacy of Leadership Endowment.

The Healthy Living & Nutrition award focuses on youth who are helping their communities make healthy decisions and lead healthy lifestyles.  The winners are:

  • Libby Larkin, Livingston County
  • Braylee Gilmore, Macoupin County
  • Reagan Parks, McLean County
  • Emma Salverson, Peoria County
  • Victoria Zwilling, Richland County

This award is sponsored by Patricia Clickener, Donna Mueller, Kevin & Janette Rhoades in honor of Norman and Mary Ann Rhoades, and Dr. Janice Seitz.

The Leadership award recognizes youth that have focused on the development of leadership skills, including offices held, committees served on, programs led, and public presentations given on behalf of 4-H.  The winners are:

  • Dylan Zwilling, Champaign County
  • Justin Gergen, DuPage County
  • Michelle Wang, Jackson County
  • Katelyn Engel, Knox County
  • Skye Schumaker, McLean County

This award is sponsored by Patricia Clickener, Donna Mueller, Dr. Janice Seitz, and Chicago Farmers.

The Natural Resources & Environmental Science award recognizes youth who have focused on environmental stewardship.  The winners are: 

  • Kierstan Lampe, Clinton County
  • Audra Spielman, Grundy County
  • Matias Habib, Kendall County
  • Elaan Bader, Montgomery County
  • Lillian Frazee,Sangamon County

This award was sponsored by Brian & Kristin Deverman, Sharon & Art Tenhouse, Mark & Mary Kaufman, Walter Lynn, Colleen Callahan-Burns.

The Personal Growth award recognizes youth that have focused on personal growth through their participation in the 4-H program.  The winners are:

  • Hannah Johnson, Fulton County
  • Elizabeth Melton, Kane County
  • Klarissa Helton, Logan County
  • Cole Rappe, Macon County
  • Campbell Russo, Winnebago County

This award is sponsored by Patricia Clickener, Dave & Lisa McMurtry, Barbara & George Clark, and Dr. Janice Seitz.

The STEM & Robotics award recognizes youth who have focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The winners are:

  • Nathan Fernando Munoz-Lo, Cook County
  • Lauren Luker, Edwards County
  • Zoe Ault, Kankakee County
  • Dhruv Rebba, McLean County
  • Lauren Haas, Tazewell County

This award was sponsored by the Lisa Woessner Memorial 4-H Science Endowment, Sharon & Art Tenhouse, Dee Murray, and Landon Frye.

Winners of 4-H Experience Awards, 4-H Sustaining the Future Award, and the Deb Stocker Illinois 4-H Youth Leadership Team Scholarship were also celebrated at the event

The ceremony program is available on the Illinois 4-H Publications Website.

About Illinois 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. 

About Extension:  Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. 

Source:  Katie Duitsman, 4-H Leadership Youth Development Extension Specialist, pilcher3@illinois.edu

Writer:  Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager, 4-H State Office, carissa7@illinois.edu