2019 Michigan 4-H Mark of Excellence award winners announced

Youth refer to opportunities and experiences 4-H has allowed them to have in Mark of Excellence essays.

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’ 4-H Mark of Excellence essay contest. As part of the contest, up to two 4-H youth essays from each county are selected to be recognized as award 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 experiences.”

Overall, 37 4-H members from 26 counties were honored as 2019 Mark of Excellence county winners.

  • Alpena County: A’va Maria Mitchell
  • Berrien County: Derrick J. Freehling and Isabelle Noel Hunn
  • Cass County:  Leah Shelby and Savannah Shelby
  • Chippewa County: Jessy Baron
  • Clare County: Haley Schunk and Allison Whitaker
  • Clinton County: Natalie Bounds
  • Genesee County: Elizabeth Hartmann
  • Gratiot County: Brayden Bonga and Paisley Hansen
  • Ionia County:  Alyssa Possehn and Nicole Trierweiler
  • Iosco County: Symphonie J. Nelkie
  • Isabella County: James Endres and Eva Lynch
  • Lapeer County: Arianna Wright
  • Lenawee County: Holly Mitchell
  • Livingston County: Yasmin Scheuneman and Karley Williams
  • Macomb County: Shelby Philion
  • Mecosta County: Jadyn Herzog
  • Missaukee County:  Chiara Z. Sible
  • Monroe County: Brandon Fisher and Camden Schmidt
  • Newaygo County: Aimee Jo Boisvert and Isabel R. Zimmer
  • Oakland County:  Mitchell Bessolo and Oscar Vartanian
  • Saginaw County: Noah Hecht
  • Sanilac County: Amelia Adamczyk and Maggie VanSickle
  • St. Joseph County:  Zachary Sowards Haack
  • Van Buren County: Jack Loomis
  • Washtenaw County: William Rogers
  • Wayne County: Cooper Genaw

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. The essays are also on display at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan.

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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