12 inducted into Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame

Bruce Schultz, Fox, Janet E.  |  5/13/2015 11:11:05 PM

The 2015 selections for the Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame were honored May 9 at the Louisiana 4-H Museum in Mansura, Louisiana. From left to right are, front row, Burton Cestia Jr., of Iberia Parish; Richard Hebert and Calvin LeBouef, both of Vermilion Parish; Cecil Ramagos Jr., of Iberville Parish; back row, Norma Roberts, of the state 4-H office; Catherine Segura, of Iberia Parish; Beryl Magee Ford, of Vernon Parish; Fran Castille, of Tangipahoa Parish; Jill Manuel, of Cameron Parish; Rose Mary Sullivan, of Sabine Parish; and Ruby Miller, of Cameron Parish. Not pictured is Adrianne Vidrine of Acadia Parish. (Photo by Bruce Schultz, LSU AgCenter)

News Release Distributed 05/13/15

MANSURA, La. – A dozen individuals were recognized on May 9 as the newest selections for the Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame.

“We cannot have 4-H without all of you,” said Mark Tassin, LSU AgCenter program leader for youth development. “For a lot of you, 4-H is your hobby.”

Janet Fox, LSU AgCenter 4-H department head, said the Hall of Fame recognition reflects the success of 4-H. “The Hall of Fame Ceremony illustrates that 4-H is hitting a home run to make the best better.”

One of the new honorees, Norma Roberts, will be among those inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in October, Fox said. Louisiana has the largest number of individuals in the National 4-H Hall of Fame.

4-H excels at developing youngsters into adults, Roberts said. “There’s no program in the state that offers more.”

During her 32- year extension career, Roberts was a Caddo Parish 4-H agent, state specialist and state 4-H leader. As 4-H agent, she helped organize 42 clubs and an active junior leader program.

She represented Louisiana on national committees and is a charter member of the Louisiana 4-H Agents Association.

Roberts received the Floyd Edmiston Award of Excellence for LSU Faculty, the Distinguished Service Award from the Louisiana and National 4-H Agents Association and the Gamma Sigma Delta Service Award. Since her retirement, she continues to serve as a volunteer 4-H leader for a club for dyslexic children and with Volunteers in Public Schools.

Rose Mary Sullivan, of Sabine Parish, said 4-H was an important part of her upbringing. “I never knew a time when my family wasn’t involved in 4-H,” she said. “I feel like no matter what I do, I learned it as a 4-H agent or a 4-H child.”

As a high school freshman, she decided to make a career in 4-H. “Some of my happiest days was when I was working with 4-H kids.”

Sullivan served as a 4-H agent for more than 17 years in LaSalle and Sabine parishes before becoming a volunteer in Sabine Parish. As an agent, she served on state advisory committees, implementing the Character Counts! program in all Sabine schools. She trained numerous state winners at 4-H University and record programs and served as camp and challenge camp manager.

Sullivan helped obtain $365,000 in capital outlay funding to build the current Sabine complex that houses the parish LSU AgCenter office. She is a 4-H shooting sports volunteer and works with volunteers to oversee distribution of backpacks to needy students every Friday sponsored by the Central Louisiana Food Bank.

She continues to provide programs for 4-H, pre-school and after school programs related to diet, health and nutrition.

Jill Manuel, of Cameron Parish, recalled hauling 44 show pigs back from a livestock show just before she went into labor. She said her daughter is now at LSU on a 4-H scholarship.

Manuel has donated prize money for livestock shows and donates her time to help youth with their show animals, build cages and pens for show animals and assist numerous members with portfolios and scholarship applications. In 2014, she was named a blue ribbon winner in the 4-H Alumni Award Contest.

Beryl Magee Ford, of Sabine Parish, said her father, Paul Magee, was a county agent. “I was born into 4-H.”

She said the organization guides youth. “4-H gives young people more life experiences than they will ever know,” Ford said. “4-H will live on in my family for generations.”

Ford has been a Vernon parish 4-H leader and parent, advisory committee member and 4-H Foundation Board member for over 20 years. She was instrumental in establishing the Vernon Parish 4-H Hall of Fame, 4-H Scholarship Fund and 4-H Livestock Club.

Richard Hebert, of Vermilion Parish, said the 4-H program there is one of the best in Louisiana that supports volunteers. “It’s been a great ride.”

For 22 years, Hebert has been a part of almost every aspect of the 4-H program. He has worked individually with youth, teaching skills ranging from computers to horses. He has worked with 4-H horse camps for 12 years.

He built the parish’s first 4-H Web page. His passion is Acadian 4-H Horse Camp, where he directs a small army of Master Horseman volunteers to teach 40 youth in an intense two-day program.

He is the coordinator of the state 4-H Premier Exhibitor program.

Fran Castille, of Tangipahoa Parish, has been working with 4-H for 30 years. “I’m a proud second-generation 4-H’er,” she said.

Castille said she’s starting a new project with shooting sports.

She has worked with 4-H programs in East Baton Rouge, St. Helena and Tangipahoa parishes. She is a charter member of the Louisiana 4-H Volunteer Leaders Association and has served in several positions.

Castille has received several awards, including the Art of Leadership Volunteer Academy, Salute to Excellence Lifetime Volunteer Award and state 4-H Volunteer Association Above and Beyond Award.

Burton Cestia, a lawyer from Iberia Parish, helped the Iberia Parish 4-H Foundation establish a fund to generate revenue to help pay expenses for a 4-H golf tournament, and he has provided legal advice for various 4-H events and activities.

Proceeds from the golf tournament are used to offset expenses of the parish 4-H program for summer camp, challenge camp and 4-H University, and provides scholarships to graduating 4-H members attending college and technical schools.

Calvin LeBouef, of Vermilion Parish, first started working with 4-H in 1978.

He has been actively involved with the 4-H Handicapped Horse Program, providing training and horses to ride, and organizing trail rides and clinics for youth. He helped organize 4-H roping clinics and the Vermilion 4-H Trail Ride, and has volunteered for many 4-H activities. As a member of local agricultural organizations, he secured significant funds for parish 4-H activities.

Ruby Miller, of Cameron Parish, said making a career change to 4-H was her best decision ever. She said she made the transition from teacher to 4-H agent after Hurricane Rita when many children in her area lost everything to the storm.

Miller said children in the community persevered and grew from the experience. “I had the privilege of seeing it all happen.”

She was involved in the start up of several innovative programs, including community-based clubs such as sewing with the elderly that connected 4-H members and senior citizens who taught youth sewing skills. The program expanded and involved youth and seniors developing two community gardens.

Miller worked to help build the 4-H Shooting Sports program in the parish and was modeled by other agents.

Cecil Ramagos Jr., of Iberville Parish, said his father was a strong 4-H supporter. “There’s not a better youth organization in the U.S. that builds character.”

Ramagos has served as a 4-H volunteer leader for over 25 years and was instrumental in establishing the Iberville Livestock Booster Club.

He has helped 4-H Club members with their livestock projects, and he and his father helped build the Iberville Parish livestock show barn. He has served as a member of the Acadiana District Livestock Board for 10 years.

Ramagos was involved in agricultural exhibits at Achievement Day for 15 years, chaperoned trips and trained 4-H University contestants in public speaking and tractor driving.

Catherine Segura, of Iberia Parish, said her life has been enriched by working with kids. “They have done more for me than I have for them.”

Segura said she met her husband of 53 years through 4-H.

She has supported the Iberia 4-H program as an organizational leader, advisory board member and parish elementary curriculum supervisor. She was instrumental in starting the Ag Adventures program for all third-grade public and parochial students to help increase their knowledge of Louisiana agricultural commodities.

The Segura family supports the Iberia Parish 4-H Foundation Golf Tournament, the Iberia Parish livestock program and the Sugarcane Festival 4-H Livestock Show and Sale.

Adrianne Vidrine, of Acadia Parish, was a 4-H agent for 14 years, starting in 1984. She provided innovative programs for over 1.400 youths in 32 organized school clubs and 85 to 100 members of the Junior Leadership Club. As a result of her guidance, over 100 club members received state and national recognition.

Vidrine served on the planning committee for the first 4-H camp for developmentally disabled 4-H youth. She reached youth through programs such as a six-hour babysitting clinic and the Smart Bodies enrichment program.

Vidrine now volunteers for service projects, food and fitness activities, records, 4-H University training and the Rice Festival Cookery Contest.

Bruce Schultz

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