2021 Michigan 4-H Mark of Excellence award winners announced
Mark of Excellence essays portray learning experiences of 4-H members.
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.