4-H Alumni, Supporters Honored For Service to La. Youth Program

Thomas A. Merrill  |  6/14/2007 2:05:33 AM

News Release Distributed 06/19/07 (After 7 p.m.)

Ten adults were recognized for their contributions to the Louisiana 4-H program during an awards ceremony Tuesday (June 19) preceding the opening session of the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H University program on the LSU campus.

The adults honored included two school superintendents, four 4-H alumni who now serve as volunteer leaders, two professors on the LSU AgCenter faculty and two secretaries from LSU AgCenter parish offices.

"Without the outstanding dedication and support of the volunteer leaders, school superintendents and our own faculty and staff, we wouldn’t be able to serve the number of young people we have involved in our 4-H youth development program across Louisiana," said Dr. Paul Coreil, vice chancellor of the LSU AgCenter. "It is always great to be able to recognize some of those who have put forth so much effort to make 4-H Clubs the best they can be."

4-H is the youth development and outreach program of the nation’s land-grant universities and is operated across Louisiana by the LSU AgCenter. The youth program’s overriding mission is to help young people develop skills and knowledge that will benefit them and their communities throughout their lives.

The 4-H Alumni Award winners recognized were Dondi Alford of Vernon Parish; Melanie Frederick, Caddo; Delanea Gates, Livingston; and Randy Maxwell, Concordia.

Special awards for school superintendents who have shown outstanding service to 4-H went to Lloyd L. Lindsey Jr. of West Feliciana Parish and Doris Voitier of St. Bernard Parish.

The awards for long-term contributions by LSU AgCenter faculty members went to Betsy Neely and John Wozniak, both with the AgCenter’s Communications unit in Baton Rouge, and the honors for secretaries went to Stephanie Dozier of East Baton Rouge Parish and Cheryl Hill of Livingston Parish.

Lindsey is the superintendent of schools in West Feliciana Parish, a post he has held for 14 years. In addition to being an avid supporter of the 4-H Club program in parish schools, he has helped to lead the parish’s school system in doubling its marks for student achievement during his tenure. He also was named Louisiana Superintendent of the Year in 2004 and is involved in a variety of community efforts in the area.

Voitier has been a strong supporter of the 4-H program since she took over as superintendent of St. Bernard schools three years ago. Even before Hurricane Katrina, she supported in-school 4-H Clubs and helped with field trips for parish youth, buses for camps, and facilities and volunteers for activities. After the storm, however, she had to make decisions that no other superintendent has faced, but she still kept up her support of the 4-H program and has seen 4-H Clubs reorganized in each school as it reopens, as well as expanded 4-H programming after school and in summer camps.

Alford, a special education paraprofessional and substitute bus driver for Rosepine School, is involved in the 4-H program as a parent, volunteer leader, project leader and resource person. He works with the Vernon Parish Teen Leader Club as a
co-chair and has provided leadership to a variety of projects. Of his 4-H experiences, Alford said, "As a child growing up, I did not realize how much I benefited from 4-H…. Today, I want to continue with this great organization, because I want more for my children and grandchildren and others like them."

Frederick is a physician on the staff of Willis Knighton Hospital in Shreveport and is serving on the Caddo 4-H Leadership Advisory Council. In addition, she has assisted with a variety of projects and contests, including helping with the parish’s Hippity, Hoppity Health Program. As a youngster, she was a 4-H member for eight years and was a state winner in several contests, which won her such honors as a National 4-H Club Congress trip. "There has been no single better investment of my time during my life than the thousands of hours I devoted to 4-H," Frederick said. "The many valuable life lessons learned during my eight years of 4-H continue to serve me well…. Even though almost 40 years has passed since I first became a 4-H’er, I still remember every word of the 4-H pledge."

Gates was a 4-H member for nine years, including five as an LSU Collegiate 4-H member, and served in a variety of leadership roles in 4-H. Now, in addition to serving as a family and consumer science teacher at Live Oak High School, she is involved with 4-H as a volunteer leader, project leader and resource person. She has organized National 4-H Week activities, an Ag Day for 500 youth, character education programs and much more, and she has helped with a variety of programs, including volunteering assistance to the 4-H University engineering contests for about 15 years. Gates said, "4-H has been a life-changing opportunity for me. It provided an outlet for me to become a leader with strong character, all while helping others, and it allowed me to discover lifelong learning skills that led to my career."

Maxwell is the sheriff in Concordia Parish and serves as a resource person, donor and advocate for 4-H involvement by youth and adults in the parish. A 4-H member for six years in his youth, Maxwell has provided facilities and meals for youth and adults attending 4-H events in the parish and has been involved in the establishment of the 4-H shooting sports program in Concordia. "4-H taught me so much. The major things that come to mind are self-discipline and to care about the community as a whole," Maxwell said. "The values taught and demonstrated by my 4-H agent and leaders brought me to the realization that one’s responsibility does not end with taking care of yourself and your own family. It’s vital that everyone do everything possible to make his or her community a better place by devoting time and energy to the causes that benefit others."

Neely is a professor and graphic designer with LSU AgCenter Communications and has worked for the AgCenter for 15 years. In her tenure with the AgCenter she has supported numerous 4-H programs and projects. She has been actively involved in the designs of the 4-H fashion show set, T-shirt designs for 4-H summer camps, and other work with 4-H U and 4-H livestock shows. She also was part of the marketing team that developed the new look and feel for 4-H through exhibits, push cards and other material. Many of the 4-H books and lesson plans also were Neely’s designs, and she is described as a dedicated and tireless supporter of 4-H and youth development.

Wozniak is the assistant director and a professor in LSU AgCenter Communications. He was a 4-H member in Avoyelles Parish and now serves as the leader of AgCenter Communications publications and graphic design team. That means he provides leadership to the team that designs and prints all the project books, exhibits and other material for 4-H. In another major contribution to the program, Wozniak has coordinated and conducted the photography contest for 4-H U since 1985. He also has been the photographer for numerous 4-H events, such as the fashion show, 4-H camps and 4-H U, and he is a regular contributor to the Louisiana 4-H Foundation.

Hill has been a secretary in the LSU AgCenter’s Livingston Parish office for the past seven years. In that job, she has a variety of roles she performs each day that ultimately support the 4-H youth development program – from entering enrollment data to keeping track of a variety of other 4-H material. Her supervisors say she works well communicating with volunteer leaders and 4-H parents and is always eager to assist 4-H agents any way she can.

Dozier is credited as a true champion for youth and a true champion for 4-H, according to her award nomination. Agents in the LSU AgCenter’s East Baton Rouge Parish office where she works say she is an outstanding and responsible employee and even admit she has "raised up" several 4-H agents in East Baton Rouge Parish. During her six years as a secretary in the LSU AgCenter’s East Baton Rouge office, Dozier is said to be the reason 4-H agents are "able to do their jobs so well," and her nomination credits her with helping agents say "on time, on location and on the ball." In addition, those 4-H professionals say her love for 4-H’ers and the 4-H program is evident that she is "not only a great professional but a great ‘Mom’ to us all, as well."


Debbie Bairnsfather at (318) 435-2903 or dbairnsfather@agcenter.lsu.edu
Terril Faul at (225) 578-2196 or tfaul@agcenter.lsu.edu
Tom Merrill at (225) 578-2263 or tmerrill@agcenter.lsu.edu

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