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Newton 4-H'ers take project honors
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As I wrote my column last week at Rock Eagle during Junior Senior 4-H Project Achievement, one 4-H’er walked by, clearly upset.

She put away her posters and props, then returned to tell me about her project.

The 4-H’er was sure her project had not been long enough and was worried she might have said “umm.”  

Having seen her practice and develop the project over the last two years, however, I knew she had put a lot of time and research into her project, and had a solid demonstration.

Like many other 4-H’ers, she selected a topic she was familiar with, but instead of limiting herself to things she already knew, she read and researched the detailed history to give a very thorough talk.

Her grammar and pronunciation are impeccable, and the speech has been practiced until I was fairly certain there was no chance she had really blown the entire project.

However, she was right to realize the competition was fierce, with 11 competitors vying for first.We talked about the strengths of her project, how she’d prepare for next year, and what she liked about the other projects, and all was well again on the surface.

I say “on the surface” because I’m sure she was just as anxious as I was to see how she’d really placed.

After winning my own project years ago, I was relieved to never have to live through that experience again… only to take a job where I’m waiting on dozens of results each year just as nervously.

The juniors, seventh and eighth grade students, learned their project results on Saturday evening.

We could scarcely believe it as not one, not two, but  all five of our Juniors placed.

First place honors went to Kacie Gartner, a Liberty Middle seventh grader in physical, biological and earth sciences, and MaKenzy McCord, a seventh grade home school student in the communications project.

Juniors winning second were Tiffany Shreve, a seventh grade Georgia Cyber Academy student in the crafts project, and Mallori Johnson, a Cousins Middle eighth grader in the arts project.

Seventh grader Kara Gartner of Liberty Middle earned third in veterinary science.

Next up was the announcement of juniors elected to the district board of directors.  

MaKenzy McCord was elected and installed on Saturday night as one of the newest board members, and will lead junior district events for the next year.

For the seniors, however, the butterflies would have to build until Sunday morning’s awards assembly.

With eight high school 4-H’ers anxious about results, I’ve never seen cabins cleaned and packed so quickly.

For high school 4-H’ers, the stakes are a little higher.  A 4-H’er winning first, or second if there are more than eight competitors in a project, earns a free trip to State 4-H Congress in July at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia.

For four days, the top 4-H’ers in each project area from across the state compete in demonstrations, portfolios and interviews.  They also attend tours, meet donors, and enjoy several banquets.

It all culminates in the announcement of winners at Six Flags and a final, formal banquet to recognize the year’s new masters.

The wait was worth it—four Newton 4-H’ers are headed to State 4-H Congress!

First place honors went to Cati Aevaliotis, an Alcovy junior in food safety and preservation; Ken Galloway, an Eastside senior in computers; and Will Holder, a home school freshman in power and energy. 

Flannery Peay, a home school freshman in general recreation, earned second and a sweepstakes invitation to state competition.

Third place in the performing arts piano project was earned by Solange Lord, an Eastside sophomore.  

Michelle Lewis, an Eastside sophomore, earned fourth place in arts and crafts; Bradford Porter, a Newton sophomore won fifth in public speaking; and Jamie Aevaliotis, an Alcovy freshman, won fifth in the health project.  Each of these three demonstrations had 11 or more competitors.

Overall, Newton took home an award for highest percentage of winners—but as I told you last week, I never doubted for a minute that they were all winners.

If your group would like to see the demonstrations  headed to State 4-H Congress as they practice, please give me a call.