Johnny Morgan | 2/15/2017 10:29:44 PM
(02/15/17) NEW ORLEANS – Louisiana 4-H’ers representing various boards from across the state showed appreciation to school board members at their state conference on Feb. 10.
Louisiana is one of a few states that has 4-H in the schools, and the annual breakfast is a way to show the value of the organization for the students.
LSU AgCenter associate vice president Mark Tassin said he likes to say he brings 4-H to the kids, the kids don’t come to 4-H.
“The only way we can bring 4-H to the kids is by being in the schools,” he said. ”Some of these kids don’t have transportation, and without us being in the schools, some of these kids can’t participate.”
Tassin told the school board members that “we want our 4-H membership to look like Louisiana, with the different cultures, accents, sizes, shapes and colors.”
One of the greatest rewards of being involved with 4-H is watching these kids step out of their comfort zones, he said. “If they live in the city, they need to see rural life, and vice versa.”
Tassin said the purpose of the breakfast is to make the school board members and superintendents aware of the important role they play in the 4-H program.
LSU AgCenter 4-H instructor Veronica Del Bianco, who helped plan the event, said the breakfast is an opportunity to communicate how 4-H is working in the communities and in the schools.
“Since we are co-curricular, we want the school personnel to understand what these students are gaining by being involved with 4-H,” she said.
Westin Cobb, a sophomore member of the 4-H Executive Board from Livingston Parish, said being on the board allows him to be an example for those coming behind him.
“I want them to see what we do and say ‘I want to be like them,’” Cobb said. “I think my time in 4-H is preparing me to attend LSU and to become an ag teacher somewhere in the state.”
Nydia Cooper, a sophomore from St. James Parish and a member of the Citizenship Board, said being in 4-H has helped her overcome her shyness.
East Baton Rouge Parish School Board President Evelyn Ware-Jackson said she was aware of 4-H while growing up on a farm in Opelousas.
“I knew that 4-H was for farm kids, but I wasn’t involved,” she said. “But today’s 4-H is amazing with all of the new activities that weren’t available when I was growing up.
Jackson said she was surprised to see the amount of leadership skills these students possess.
“They’re so young, but they were able to go to the different tables and coordinate everything and they seemed to be having a really good time too,” Jackson said.
During the breakfast, the school board members had an opportunity to share some one-on-one time with the students who were representing the leadership boards in the 4-H organization.
The breakfast was sponsored by the Louisiana Association of Extension 4-H Agents.
Orleans Parish Junior Leader Anthony Franklins introduces himself to state school board members and superintendents and members during the annual 4-H breakfast in New Orleans on Feb. 10. (Photo by Johnny Morgan)
LSU AgCenter associate vice president Mark Tassin looks on as 4-H leaders interact with state school board superintendents and members during the annual 4-H breakfast in New Orleans on Feb. 10. (Photo by Johnny Morgan)
4-H leaders participating in this year’s 4-H breakfast for state school board members and superintendents are: Lauren Mearidy, of Tangipahoa Parish, State Citizenship Board; Anthony Franklin, Orleans Parish Junior Leader Club; Samyra Miller, of Orleans Parish, State Performing Arts Board; Remy Lodrigues, of St. James Parish, State SET Board; Nydia Cooper, of St. James Parish, State Citizenship Board; Connor Arthur, Sabine Parish, State Shooting Sports Ambassadors; Hallee Collins, of Rapides Parish, and Westin Cobb, of Livingston Parish, State Executive Board; Jennifer Windham, of West Baton Rouge Parish, State Food and Fitness Board; Luke Seguin, Livingston Parish, State Shooting Sports Ambassadors; Kennedi Williams, of St. Mary Parish, State Food and Fitness Board and Shaylee Puls, of Tangipahoa Parish, State Fashion Board. (Photo by Johnny Morgan)