By Korinne Caniglia
OSU Extension, Medina County
Area teens will be honored at the first Medina County 4-H Outstanding High-School Senior Recognition event July 29 at the Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Pavilion on the fairgrounds.
The 14 youths will be lauded for their excellence in 4-H project work, leadership and community service.
The outstanding seniors are: Jonathan Brietkrenz, Katelin Everhard, Beth Joseph, Caci-Lane Lewandowski, Heidi Santelmann, Adam Sniff, Jacob Sniff, Rachel Sniff, Kelsey Stoll, Kimberly Tekus, Jacob Tyree, Malory Vereb, Jessie Witschey and Michael Woolsteen.
Ohio State University Extension coordinates the countyâ€™s 4-H youth development program for more than 1,400 youths ages 5 to 18. The national organization promotes hands-on learning and life skills. It enables youths to develop the knowledge, skills and goals for future success.
â€œOur goal is to develop young adults who are able to become caring and competent leaders of our communities in the future,â€ said Lisa Wittenauer, the county Extension educator of 4-H youth development.
â€œTheir bios and lists of accomplishments and future goals are very impressive. The accomplishments of these young people show a commitment to the 4-H program as well as a strong commitment to their schools and communities.â€
The senior recognition event replaces the former Outstanding Court that awarded top 4-Hâ€™ers each year. A 20-member Extension 4-H Committee that helps guide the countyâ€™s programs declared a change after saluting court members for more than 25 years.
Some court members received the honor multiple times and often were confused with the fairâ€™s king and queen, said Christie Becker, Extension program assistant of 4-H youth development.
â€œThis seemed like a better way to recognize our outgoing seniors,â€ Becker said. â€œItâ€™s also a better look at their whole 4-H record. Every year, weâ€™ll get different kids.â€
Wittenauer said, â€œBy making this a one-time award, it makes receiving the award more meaningful, and they have to work their whole 4-H career to get it.â€
Applicants in 12th grade with at least four years of
4-H experience can be nominated by a club adviser or peer. Nominees then submit applications outlining their 4-H involvement as well as essays describing their 4-H experiences. Extension 4-H Committee members select the outstanding seniors based on their participation, dedication and service to 4-H at the local, county and state levels.
The eventâ€™s sponsors are: Armstrong Cable Service Inc., Ed and Beth Baker, Blue Ribbon Restaurant, the Nancy Hudson family, Medina County Auditor Mike Kovack, Lodi Ruritan Club, Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Co-op Inc., Medina Kennel Club, Steve and Cheryl Tannehill and Western Reserve Bank.
Medina County 4-H congratulates this yearâ€™s Outstanding Seniors:
Brietkrenz, 18, is the son of Jerry and Diane Brietkrenz of Wellington.
4-H membership: 13 years, Homer Highlighters.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board president and local club recreation leader.
Activities: Participated in swine skillathon, qualified for state project judging for archery, coordinated Junior Fair activities, planned recreational games for club members and donated food and clothing for community service projects.
Projects: Swine, turkeys, dairy, woodworking, welding and shooting sports.
Future plans: To become an arborist.
Comments: â€œAll of my family has encouraged me with my 4-H projects, helping me do my best. 4-H has taught me how to start something and follow through to the finish. 4-H has definitely taught me leadership. These skills will be useful throughout life. I have enjoyed all the projects, friends I have made and of course, the fair each year.â€
Everhard, 18, is the daughter of Ken and Sarah Everhard of Wadsworth.
4-H membership: 10 years, Wadsworth Fantastiks.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board member and local club president.
Activities: Won state awards for project judgings, gave demonstrations, joined nutrition and clothing skillathons and helped coordinate Junior Fair swine and steer shows.
Projects: Nutrition, welding, clothing, woodworking, ropes, tree planting and rabbits.
Future plans: To graduate from Malone College or the University of Akron.
Comments: â€œOne of the first lessons I learned from 4-H was the importance of doing my best. Leadership experience taught me many lessons about how to get along with people of all ages and how to problem solve when the people youâ€™re leading canâ€™t seem to agree. Finally, the most important lesson I learned in 4-H was to enjoy learning and experiencing new things.â€
Joseph, 17, is the daughter of Linda Hoffmann Joseph of Medina.
4-H membership: 11 years, Medynamites.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board, Junior Leaders and Fashion Nutrition Board member, Day Camp and Kelleys Island Camp counselor and local club offices.
Activities: Won state project judging in clothing, presented demonstrations, promoted camps to club members and joined community service activities, from collecting items for food drives and animal shelters to making blankets for hospital patients.
Projects: Nutrition, clothing, alcohol decisions and first aid.
Future plans: To attend the University of Dayton.
Comments: â€œProjects and camp involvement have educated me. Iâ€™ve learned to communicate with varying ages, to be affective in helping those in need and to be a leader. 4-H has allowed me to grasp situations and experiences other kids miss out on.â€
Lewandowski, 18, is the daughter of Lorinda Lewandowski of Sharon Township.
4-H membership: Nine years, Goat Gang.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board treasurer, Junior Leaders member and local club president.
Activities: Attended state 4-H convention, advanced to state project judgings, created pack goat manuals, taught dairy and pygmy goat showmanship, helped younger members with projects, presented demonstration and participated in petting zoos.
Projects: Dairy goats, pygmy goats, dog agility and dog grooming and handling.
Future plans: To become a high-school math teacher and 4-H adviser.
Comments: â€œ4-H has been the most rewarding experience in my life. No other activity has taught me that hard work, knowledge and teamwork pay off. Commitment to your goals, whether it is dog grooming and handling or 4-H activities, builds responsibility, teamwork, respect and dedication.â€
Santelmann, 18, is the daughter of Ken and Margaret Santelmann of Seville.
4-H membership: 12 years, Guilford Country Kids.
Clubs and roles: Fashion Nutrition Board, Extension 4-H Committee, and Family and Consumer Sciences Committee member and local club president.
Activities: Attended Ohio 4-H Teen Conference, Ohio Volunteer Conference and Fashion Clinic, received Ohio 4-H Fashion Revue Award, won state awards for projects in clothing and health, facilitated discussions at Sister-to-Sister Summit and joined community service activities.
Projects: Clothing, Ohio Birds, and Tobacco and You.
Future plans: To major in business marketing at the University of Findlay.
Comments: â€œI have served in every club office, met the responsibilities of each, gained confidence, developed interview and public-speaking skills, learned to budget my time and met deadlines. I have learned to work as part of a team, sharing ideas and planning programs.â€
Sniff, 18, is the son of Thomas and Alyce Sniff of Sharon Township.
4-H membership: 13 years, Granger Busy Bees.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board and Junior Leaders member and local club vice president.
Activities: Qualified for state project judging in small engines, presented health and safety speeches, won county demonstration contest, joined community service committees at the local and county levels and planned junior fair activities.
Projects: Creative arts, small engines, nutrition, pygmy goats, ropes and woodworking.
Future plans: To study mechanical engineering at college.
Comments: â€œBy taking projects to the fair, I have been introduced to a multitude of different skills and activities. All of these projects have made me a well-rounded person who has learned important lessons on how to complete things on time, be courteous and respectful to others and to always strive to succeed.â€
Sniff, 18, is the son of Tom and Alyce Sniff of Sharon Township.
4-H membership: 13 years, Granger Busy Bees.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board and Junior Leaders member and local club president.
Activities: Advanced to state project judgings for insects and bicycling, won county demonstration contest, coordinated the junior fairâ€™s safari program and planned clubâ€™s recreational and community service activities.
Projects: Candy making, nutrition, insects, bicycling and fishing.
Future plans: To study math, physics and biology at college, followed by law school.
Comments: â€œAs club president, I learned invaluable lessons. Not only did I learn how to lead a discussion, effectively listen to others and make judgments that took all options into account, but I also learned how important change is. My usage of foresight and dialogue while enforcing change led to more informed and understanding club members.â€
Sniff, 18, the daughter of Tom and Alyce Sniff of Sharon Township.
4-H membership: 13 years, Granger Busy Bees.
Clubs and roles: Junior Leaders vice president, Junior Fair Board activities chairperson, Fashion Nutrition Board and Extension 4-H Committee member, Day Camp counselor and local club offices.
Activities: Qualified for state contest with demonstration on flower pressing, won state award for nutrition project, assisted with county judgings and helped younger 4-Hâ€™ers during recreation.
Projects: Cake decorating, home furnishings, creative arts, quilting, wildflowers and nutrition.
Future plans: To major in education at High Point University.
Comments: â€œ4-H has allowed me to become a greater leader, hold a larger voice and take on otherwise missed opportunities. I have learned how one helping hand can make a greater difference, that I have a voice in the community and so much more about myself.â€
Stoll, 18, is the daughter of Jack and Diane Stoll of Medina.
4-H membership: 12 years, Medynamites and Happy Scrappers.
Clubs and roles: CARTEENS facilitator, Junior Leaders vice president, Kelleys Island Camp and Day Camp counselor and local club offices.
Activities: Attended Ohio 4-H Teen Conference and Sea Camp, joined Pet Pals to take therapy dog to nursing homes and hospitals, participated in Sister-to-Sister Girlsâ€™ Summit, advanced to state level with projects, won state demonstration contest.
Projects: Scrapbooking, gift wrapping, first aid, Pet Pals, rope, archery and nutrition.
Future plans: To major in pharmacy at the Ohio State University or University of Findlay.
Comments: â€œ4-H is there to help you learn life lessons and practical skills that you can use one day. 4-H has taught me to be reliable, responsible, organized and humble. Itâ€™s not always about winning but what you learned along the way.â€
Tekus, 18, is the daughter of John and Patricia Tekus of Medina.
4-H membership: 10 years, Westfield Trailblazers.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board and Horse Council member and local club president.
Activities: Presented demonstrations on the parts of a saddle and proper show attire, organized junior fair activities and joined community service projects, from playing games with residents at the Medina County Home to decorating the fairgrounds at Christmas.
Projects: Basic horsemanship, equine reproduction and genetics, rabbits and dog agility.
Future plans: To study nursing at the University of Toledo.
Comments: â€œI believe that during my 4-H career I have become a better person. I can appreciate all the hard work, time and effort that people and myself put into projects. One good lesson that I learned is to prioritize my time. I believe this lesson is not only important in 4-H but is also very valuable in all parts of your life.â€
Tyree, 18, is the son of Jim and Jill Tyree of West Salem.
4-H membership: Eight years, Homer Highlighters.
Clubs and roles: Local club treasurer and mentor.
Activities: Assisted younger 4-H members, presented demonstrations, participated in petting zoos and discussed animal care during Family-A-Fair and the Fall Foliage Tour and won grand champion with a dairy beef finished steer and dairy beef light feeder.
Projects: Ducks, turkeys and steers.
Future plans: To study environmental science at the Ohio State Universityâ€™s Agricultural Technical Institute.
Comments: â€œBy participating in 4-H, I have grown into a responsible and reliable person who cares about others, animals and the environment. It has strengthened my family ties due to the involvement of all of my family members. It has made me a better person who is more committed to community service.â€
Vereb, 18, is the daughter of Joe and Liz Vereb of Wadsworth.
4-H membership: Nine years, Sharon Flying Horse & Pony.
Clubs and roles: Junior Leaders milkshake booth chairperson, Junior Fair Board and Fashion Nutrition Board member, Kelleys Island Camp and Day Camp counselor and local club president.
Activities: Planned Sister-to-Sister Girlsâ€™ Summit, assisted with junior fair judgings, led science activities for campers, attended cake decorating clinic, qualified for state contest with woodworking project and promoted Junior Leaders at Family-A-Fair.
Projects: Cake decorating, horses, woodworking, photography and rabbits.
Future plans: To study nursing at MedCentral College of Nursing.
Comments: â€œThe most important thing I have learned through 4-H is how to be a responsible, trustworthy leader. Later on in life I will be able to use the skills I gained and apply them to a career.â€
Witschey, 18, is the daughter of Robert and Patricia Witschey of Wadsworth.
4-H membership: 13 years, Medina County Sharp Shooters.
Clubs and roles: Junior Leaders milkshake booth chairperson, Junior Fair Board, Fashion Nutrition Board and Extension 4-H Committee member, Kelleys Island Camp and Day Camp counselor and local club president.
Activities: Participated in state shooting records competition, attended Ohio 4-H Teen Conference, 4-H Conservation Camp and Ohio 4-H Youth Expo, advanced to state project judgings, photographed Style Revue and led songs at Day Camp.
Projects: Shooting sports, creative arts, nutrition, clothing and rabbits.
Future plans: To attend the Ohio College of Massotherapy.
Comments: â€œI set the goal to become as involved as I could, learn as much as I could and become someone to be admired as a role model. I have learned how to handle unexpected obstacles and interact with a variety of people, both new and acquainted to me.â€
Woolsteen, 19, is the son of Robert and Sheri Woolsteen of Medina.
4-H membership: 13 years, Just Horsinâ€™ Around.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board, Junior Leaders and Junior Horse Council member, Horse Council King and local club president.
Activities: Competed at state level with Horse Judging Team, advanced and placed at state level with horse projects, organized Alumni Horse Show at the fair, helped club obtain first Gold Seal Award and joined community service activities.
Projects: Basic horsemanship, trail riding and equine reproduction and genetics.
Future plans: To work with computers and own related business.
Comments: â€œ4-H has taught me to be more independent and not just sit back and watch. 4-H also has taught me that some times you need to ask for help. From not being able to get on a horse to being able to win most of my classes, I have come a long way. I also feel there is much more for me to learn.â€