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Graduate reflects on 4-H career
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The following is a speech presented at the annual 4-H banquet by Eastside high senior Mallori Johnson, reflecting on her 4-H career. Johnson was recognized at Northwest District Project Achievement for competing all 8 years of her 4-H career. She will enter Georgia Southern University in early childhood education in the fall.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to the sixth grade when I went to Burton 4-H Camp. A girl I went to elementary school with picked at me.

At the time, I was not brave enough to stand up for myself. So instead I went to Ms. Terri for help. She sat me down and tried to comfort me. I recall her telling me about a time she was picked at as a child.

Ms. Terri has a way of comforting kids at their lowest, and she is always there to cheer you up. I believe that experience at 4-H camp helped me to become a strong person and to stand up for myself.

I have grown by leaps and bounds in 4-H. I have run for district board twice, and I am a Financial Freedom Fighters Ambassador.

Running for board helps a person gain communication skills, face her fears to present a 2-minute speech in front of over 500 4-H’ers, and make a lot of friends.

Ms. Terri, Ms. Kim, and all the Newton 4-H’ers have always been extremely supportive when it comes to my crazy ideas … y’all can’t forget about “Burn those calories, vote for Mallori,” or “Have it your way and vote Mallori J,” (my campaign slogans).

I will never forget the fun and even the late night poster revamping in the cabin at Rock Eagle.

The best project I presented would have to be on television and film analysis. All of the leaders of Newton 4-H including the best adult leaders we have -- the Kimbles -- helped me a lot with my projects. Ms. Terri and I came up with the grand idea to tie in the movie Forrest Gump to my project and it really wowed my judges.

Ms. Elaine managed to find me a bench and Mr. Ted found a suitcase. Mr. Kimble transported the bench to Rock Eagle on his truck and of course Ms. Terri helped with the speech.

Ms. Kim and Ms. Terri revamped my posters a bit and make them cute. Ms. Kim truly does have a great talent at creating posters, especially at the last minute! And, you can’t forget about the box of chocolates.

My Forrest Gump inspired project was amazing and to be honest, it deserved first place, but that’s just my opinion.

My point is this: every year, I competed in District Project Achievement … and every year, I did not receive first, second or third place. I am usually sullen on the bus back home, but it took me years to realize that regardless of what the judges say, I know that I did my very best and that’s all that matters.

All of the Newton 4-H staff is always proud of my accomplishments as well as everyone else’s. Going to State Congress isn’t everything, and winning isn’t everything either.

This year most definitely was the best. I wouldn’t change a thing about my senior year in Newton 4-H. These eight years in 4-H have truly been spectacular.

In conclusion, thank you Ms. Terri, Ms. Kim, Mr. Ted, Mr. and Mrs. Kimble and any other leaders in Newton 4-H for being fantastic and for always encouraging all of us to do our very best.

I want to thank my family for always supporting me when it comes to my endeavors in 4-H.

The 4-H motto indeed is “To Make the Best Better.” I have definitely done that during my 4-H career.

The thing is, it’s not over for me yet. I will probably be coming to the office over the summer to help, and to bother Ms. Kim, of course. This isn’t the last you’ll see of me.

I’ll be leaving this August to attend Georgia Southern University, but 4-H will always resonate in my heart.

I am Mallori Johnson, and I am Georgia 4-H.