2021 Michigan 4-H Mark of Excellence award winners announced

Mark of Excellence essays portray learning experiences of 4-H members.

State Award applications

Every year, counties across Michigan offer 4-H youth ages 11 and 12 the opportunity to participate in Michigan 4-H State Awards Program 4-H Mark of Excellence essay contest. As part of the contest, each county may select two essays to be recognized as winners.

The essay theme is “Because of 4-H, I can…” and the youth referred to their 4-H experiences as ones that have allowed them to make new friends, try new projects, explore new places and help their dreams come true. Some credited 4-H with helping them increase their public speaking skills, confidence, and time management skills. Other 4-H’ers wrote with excitement about their club meetings, events, exhibits and community service projects.

“These young members look forward to the future and are eager to see where 4-H will take them next,” said Jake DeDecker, Michigan State University Extension 4-H State Leader. “The Mark of Excellence essay contest not only provides a space for youth to think critically about their experiences but also recognizes them for engaging in these learning opportunities.”

Overall, 20 4-H members from 16 counties were honored as 2021 Mark of Excellence county winners.

  • Branch County: Adam Franks, McKayla Milliman
  • Cass County: Alexus Johnson
  • Chippewa County: Jacob Walter
  • Eaton County: Katie Miller
  • Hillsdale County: Leah Headley, Claire Stroup
  • Ingham County: Sophia Nielsen
  • Isabella County: Joseph Endres
  • Lake County: Lily Putkela
  • Livingston County: Danykah Muck, Grady Turner
  • Macomb County: Avery Stallmann
  • Oakland County:  Kaitlyn Keen, Anaya Potts
  • Ottawa County: Jenna Ponstein
  • Roscommon County: Alexandria Gammicchia
  • Shiawassee County: Callie Hall
  • Tuscola County:  Adam Hecht
  • Washtenaw County: Westin Rogers

Each recipient received a medal, and their winning essays were added to the Mark of Excellence history book at the Michigan 4-H Foundation and State 4-H Office at MSU Extension.

To learn more about Michigan 4-H Youth Development, contact your local MSU Extension office or visit the Michigan 4-H website.

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