Iowa Academic All-Staters Credit 4-H's Role in Their Success

October 3 to 9 is National 4-H week and through 4-H Iowa's young people are "Taking the Lead" for their future. For more information about 4-H, contact your county ISU Extension office.

Published on: Sep 29, 2010
Throughout Iowa, 4-H graduates are pursuing their dreams at colleges and universities, while kindergarteners and elementary students adjust to their new school year. Get the kids headed in the right direction by enrolling them in the Iowa 4-H Youth Development program.  4-H can boost their academic careers and build their leadership, citizenship and communication skills, as former 4-H'ers turned college freshman can attest. Tufts University, Institute of Applied Research in Youth Development, conducted a 4-H study of positive youth development.  According to the research, "Among 4-H youth in grades 5 to 9, 4-H participants reported significantly higher levels of contribution, significantly better grades, and significantly more likely to expect themselves to attend college than among the matched comparison group." Take it from some of the 4-H graduates who were named 2010 Des Moines Register Academic All-Staters by their high schools. Amber Irlmeier, a graduate of Elk Horn-Kimballton High School, is attending the University of Northern Iowa this fall to major in math and finance. A seven-year 4-H member, she enjoyed volunteering at the Iowa State Fair and serving on the Southwest Area Council. Irlmeier learned responsibility and communication skills through experiences showing animals and meeting new people at 4-H events.

4-H helps you learn about yourself, and what works for you

"4-H helps in every area of your life," she says. "You can join to do any activity, even if it's just to meet new people." Irlmeier plans to stay involved with 4-H by applying to be a counselor at the Iowa 4-H Center and working at the state fair. Kristen Hora, a graduate of Highland High School in Riverside, is majoring in accounting at University of Northern Iowa. The 2010 Iowa Pork Princess and a nine-year 4-H member values the family-based and community-building activities 4-H offered.  Hora says 4-H was a great learning experience and that she took on new hobbies, like quilting and scrapbooking, after she was introduced to them through the program. "You learn more about yourself and what works for you," she says. "4-H helps make an individual unique and well-rounded." Trisha Collins, a Pleasantville High School graduate, is Iowa State University majoring in animal science. Her 4-H experience exhibiting sheep, cattle and dogs since fourth grade inspired her decision to study to become a large animal veterinarian. 4-H taught her leadership, responsibility and public speaking skills at a young age. A nine-year 4-H member, Collins also credits 4-H with getting her involved in photography, one of her favorite hobbies.  "4-H can teach you that if you put the time into a project, it pays off in the end," she says. "You have great opportunities to build character and have a good time while doing it."  Other Iowa 4-H'ers named as Top 15 Academic All-State students include Luke Lansman of Harlan, and Caine Westergard of Akron-Westfield. 

About the Iowa 4-H Youth Development Program

4-H is the nation's largest youth development organization, serving more than 6 million young people across America with programs in leadership, citizenship, communication and life skills. One in five Iowa school-age youth participates in 4-H. In Iowa, 4-H Youth Development is headquartered at the Iowa State University campus in Ames. 4-H is supported by federal, state and county funding, private grants and donations, and fees. For more information about joining 4-H, contact your Iowa State University Extension county office at www.extension.iastate.edu/ouroffices.htm or visit www.extension.iastate.edu/4H.