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Leadership, Integrity of Character, and Service among qualifications
Bedford, Virginia—For most people, the term All Star is something that we hear associated with sports. However, for members who participate in a 4-H program, it’s the highest recognition that a Virginia 4-H’er can achieve.
This year, the honor goes to four Bedford County students, all graduates of Staunton River High School. The All Stars include: 2019 graduates, Ethan Jackson (Virginia FFA State President 2019), Josh Powers (Virginia FFA State Vice President 2020), and Andrew Tuck; and 2020 graduate, Samantha Holdren.
All four students remain active members of the Smith Mountain FFA Chapter and the Bedford Livestock Club, and they each participated in local, regional and state competitions through 4-H and FFA.
Josh Powers began his involvement in 4-H in 2007 when he was just seven years old. “In my 10 plus years of 4-H, I have found family, passion, and hope,” says Powers. “I found a love for people and animals through agriculture, and while 4-H was a starting place for me, it has remained a constant source of support and encouragement for all other endeavors.”
Powers currently serves as Virginia FFA Vice President. He was also on the Agriculture Sales Team at the 2018 FFA State Competition where the team placed fifth overall out of 13 teams and 51 students. His accomplishments include winning Virginia FFA Tractor Operators Contest, Virginia 4-H Tractor Operators Contest, and he was on the winning team for the Virginia Livestock Judging Contest.
Andrew Tuck, who began his 4-H career in 2008, won fourth place in the individual competition for Agriculture Sales and was on the winning team for the Virginia Livestock Judging Contest. “My achievements helped me realize the importance of teamwork and staying consistent with practices to be successful,” says Tuck. “My 4-H involvement has allowed me to meet people in the ag industry and has influenced my career decision by giving me a passion to advocate for agriculture, and raise livestock of my own to feed the world.”
Samantha’s achievements, since her 4-H career began in 2011, include winning second place in the state junior public speaking competition, and being on the first-place team in livestock judging. “This organization began my interest in public speaking and livestock judging,” says Holdren. Over the years I have developed these skills inside and outside of 4-H, but nevertheless, my passion began here.”
Ethan Jackson began his 4-H career in 2012 and was honored to be named the 2019 Virginia FFA State President. “I found community and more when I joined the Bedford 4-H Livestock Club,” says Jackson. “It was 4-H that first gave me self-confidence, self-worth, and the desire to develop as a leader.”
Ethan was the first Bedford County student ever to be named FFA State President. He was on the winning team for the Virginia Livestock Judging Contest and was also named an All American in the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest and represented the National 4-H at the Royal Highland Show in Scotland. Ethan also received his State FFA degree and was the state swine production proficiency winner in 2018.
Students must go through a multi-step application process to be considered as an All Star. After completing their application, the club leader, extension agent, and three All Stars must sign off for approval. From there, the All Star Chapter committee, comprised of Extension Agents and All Star members, review the information and send it to state chairs for final review and approval.
“Each of these young people have worked very hard over the past several years and truly deserve this high honor,” said Jeff Powers, Chairman of the Bedford County Agricultural Economic Development Advisory Board. “To have them represent our community is something in which we can all be proud.”
The All Star’s goal is to contribute to positive youth development through service to 4-H, but the leadership skills learned translate to all facets of life. These students are now members of the Skelton Chapter of 4-H All Stars.
Typically, new members are welcomed into the ranks of All Stars through an induction ceremony held during State 4-H Congress at Virginia Tech. Due to COVID-19, the Virginia 4-H All Stars held a Virtual Welcome Event on June 24 where they formally recognized each member. Each person who gained full membership this year is invited to join for an in-person induction in June 2021.
To learn more about 4-H, please visit https://ext.vt.edu/4h-youth.html, or contact Maribeth Martin, 4-H Youth Development, at (540) 586-7675.