Youngsters Volunteers Honored For Outstanding Work With Livestock Projects

Terril D. Faul, Merrill, Thomas A.  |  4/26/2005 8:28:36 PM

News Release Distributed 02/12/05

BATON ROUGE – The LSU AgCenter recognized outstanding volunteer leaders and 4-H and FFA members Saturday (Feb. 12) for their involvement in and contributions to youth livestock programs.

The awards were presented during ceremonies that concluded the 70th annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. The annual events ran Feb. 5-12.

Sponsored by the Louisiana 4-H Foundation and Louisiana FFA, the awards were based on evaluation of each person's record book or a detailed application concerning his or her involvement with youth livestock projects.

The 4-H program is the youth development arm of the nationwide land-grant university system. It is operated in Louisiana by the LSU AgCenter and includes projects for youth on topics ranging from raising livestock to computer science, family life, environmental science and much more.

"Volunteer leaders help us to reach even more young people than we could possibly reach with just our faculty members, so it’s always a pleasure to be able to honor some of them," said Dr. Paul Coreil, vice chancellor of the LSU AgCenter. "Of course, it’s also wonderful to be able to recognize some of the young people who are excelling in their 4-H and FFA projects."

Among the awards presented during the Saturday evening ceremony were the Louisiana Attorney General’s Awards, which recognize two volunteer 4-H leaders who have assisted livestock project members. Those awards went to Iris Sherman of Iberia Parish and Kevin LeBlanc of West Baton Rouge Parish.

Sherman has served as a 4-H livestock leader for eight years and has assisted more than 50 young people with livestock projects by conducting workshops and clinics, as well as helping some of them prepare for contests. She also has encouraged other adults to become leaders and has been instrumental in raising funds for the 4-H program in Iberia Parish. As a result of her efforts, at least 35 more parents have volunteered to assist young people with livestock projects, and more than $10,000 has been raised for 4-H youth development programs.

LeBlanc has been a volunteer leader in the 4-H livestock program for three years. He has assisted in preparing facilities and managing the West Baton Rouge Fair and Parish Junior Livestock Show. But his largest contribution has been to the rabbit project – where he has been involved with conducting clinics, selecting quality rabbits and teaching about proper nutrition for rabbits. LeBlanc also was a large contributor in starting the parish rabbit premier exhibitor contest and he says his main interest in 4-H is seeing youth succeed and enjoy their 4-H experience.

The Superintendent of Education Awards are presented each year to students 13 years of age or younger who have excelled in the livestock program. Those awards this year went to Ryan Cary from Jefferson Davis Parish, Ethan Paul Nunez of Cameron Parish and Cynthia Schilling from Washington Parish.

Cary is a member of Elton High School FFA and the son of Sandra Cary. As a livestock exhibitor, he has been active in the sheep project, placing first in Showmanship at both the LSU AgCenter Junior Livestock Show and the Louisiana State Fair. He also exhibited the Jefferson Davis grand champion market lamb and qualified for the North American Livestock Exhibition, where his lamb placed fourth. Cary, who also is active in beef production and exhibition, is historian for his FFA chapter and a member of its soil judging team, and he has been active in a variety of community service and leadership activities.

Nunez is a second-year 4-H member from Cameron Parish and the son of Delia Nunez and Giraud Nunez. His livestock projects include goats and poultry, and he has two meat goats, two breeding goats, and a cock and hen. Nunez also purchased a Styrofoam incubator after conducting research through his 4-H project book and the Internet, and he used the incubator to hatch goose, duck and chicken eggs. In addition to those project accomplishments, Nunez is parliamentarian of his local 4-H Club, and he also has worked with service projects for the homeless, several literacy programs and the area’s Beach Sweep.

Schilling is a third-year 4-H member and the daughter of John Schilling and Cyndi Norris. She participates in the 4-H dairy project and the market hog project and has seven show animals. She also has done extensive community service work such as collecting food for the homeless, supporting Ronald McDonald charities, collecting for the American Cancer Society and helping provide toys for needy children. Schilling says she believes 4-H has helped her become a better person by helping her find more ways to serve her community and those who are less fortunate.

The final awards presented Saturday were the Governor’s Awards. These awards annually recognize two senior 4-H members and one FFA member who have excelled in the livestock program. Those awards went to Tate Guillotte of Iberia Parish, Samantha Lirette of Lafourche Parish and Regina Claire St. Amand of Evangeline Parish.

Guillotte is a 16-year-old 4-H member and the son of Lynn and Diana Guillotte. Guillotte, who has been a swine exhibitor for seven years, a lamb exhibitor for four years and goat exhibitor for two years, has breeding and show stock that includes 10 swine, 10 sheep and 12 goats. He has been active in the Premier Exhibitor Program and won first place in the 2004 Swine Premier Exhibitor Program. In addition, Guillotte has been the state winner for 4-H project records in swine, sugarcane and agronomy, as well as a state winner in the small engines demonstration at 4-H University. He also serves as president of his junior class, has been active in charitable causes and says he feels that a tremendous effort accompanied by honesty, integrity and compassion is a winning combination regardless of the outcome.

Lirette is a member of Central Lafourche High School FFA and is the daughter of Monica and Arthur Lirette of Raceland. Her supervised agricultural experience program through FFA includes 24 dairy cows, 13 goats, 115 broilers and 52 laying hens as well as growing several acres of tomatoes, greens, okra, peas, cucumbers and eggplants. She has exhibited her animals at parish, district and state levels and other in-state and out-of-state shows. Lirette says she plans to continue studying agriculture to help provide future generations with higher quality food and better genetics in livestock.

St. Amand is a 17-year-old 4-H member from Evangeline Parish and her parents are Ronald and Faye St. Amand. A nine-year 4-H member, she owns a registered herd of 20 Charolais cattle – of which she exhibits three in the 4-H beef project and also has exhibited one commercial heifer. That heifer helped her win an educational trip to Louisville, Ky., for the North American International Livestock Exposition, and her achievements as the state winner in beef records got her a trip to 4-H Club Congress in Atlanta. She also has been a state winner for her 4-H animal science project records and is a previous winner of the Superintendent of Education Award. St. Amand also is active in community service projects and says 4-H has taught her patience, how to accept success and failure and the ability to become a better leader.

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Contact:     Terril Faul at (225) 578-2196 or tfaul@agcenter.lsu.edu
Writer:        Tom Merrill at (225) 578-2263 or tmerrill@agcenter.lsu.edu

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