Achievement Night honors 4-H members, clubs

4-H honors members and clubs with Achievement Night celebration.

LENOIR, NC (February 22, 2022, by Ext. Agent Sarah Kocher) – Caldwell County 4-H hosted its annual Achievement Night celebration on February 4, 2022, at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center. The event celebrated youth involvement in 4-H and achievements from the past year across county programs.

The evening opened with a brief welcome and then the flag salute and 4-H pledge were led by Moranna and Wilson Deal. Moranna Deal is currently serving as our West District 4-H Vice President.

Three Caldwell County youth earned awards for their presentations and public speaking. Wilson Deal earned gold at the county level for his public speaking entry about goal-setting. Peyton Denning earned gold at the county and district level for his open class presentation on saxophones. Addison Duncan also earned gold at the county and gold at the district level. Then at the state competition in 2021, she earned silver for her presentation on the hay-making process.

Addison Duncan stands with her gold presentation certificate. In addition to earning gold at the county and district level, Duncan placed second in the state 4-H presentations contest in 2021.

4-H Clubs were also recognized for their achievements.

In 2021, Baton Elementary Bear Paws 4-H Club, started with an all-new group of fourth and fifth-grade members, exhibited a booth at the Caldwell Agricultural Fair and decorated pumpkins for a school reading night.

The club’s re-chartering application was approved for 2022 at the gold level. The Bear Paws 4-H Club also won a pizza party as part of the 2022 enrollment contest.

In 2021, the Cooking 4-H Club navigated the challenge of having club meetings without being able to cook; learned food and personal safety protocols when they were able to cook at meetings again; and tested recipes for spaghetti sauce, stir fry, macaroni and cheese and many other foods. The Cooking 4-H Club’s re-chartering application was approved for 2022 at the gold level.

Cooking 4-H Club members and leader Lori Joplin pose at the 2022 4-H Achievement Night in Lenoir. The group meets once a month to cook and bake together.

In 2021, the Livestock 4-H Club welcomed new members and helped one another become better showmen through competition and encouragement. They also learned about animal care through hands-on demonstrations. The Livestock 4-H Club’s re-chartering application was approved for 2022 at the gold level.

In 2021, the 4-H Saddle Club had members place in the state’s online Horse Bowl contest, improved their equine knowledge through activities such as identifying parts of English and Western saddles and they celebrated the holidays in style, riding in the Sawmills Christmas parade and helping with Holiday Crafts. The Saddle Club’s re-chartering application was approved, and they are receiving a gold seal.

Project records were another area of recognition.

Project records are a written account of project work done in an area during the year. They serve as both a record and a tool for reflection. An excellent record is well-organized, containing details about what a young person learned and how that individual grew through their experiences.

Saddle 4-H Club members and leaders pose at the 2022 4-H Achievement Night in Lenoir. The group meets each first Tuesday of the month.

Lilly Pearson and Ryan Simms were recognized for completing mini project records. Pearson’s record outlined her community service project in 2021, and Simms wrote and drew about his comedy efforts.

In the animal science category, Shelby Ford completed a Cloverbud project record. In the 8-10 age category, Peyton Taylor received gold. In the 11-12 age category, Eli Dillon earned gold and also reached the standard of excellence for his record.

Also for animal science, Jordan Mitchem placed gold in the 13-15 age category. Addie Dillon placed silver and Ellie Shuping placed bronze. Mitchem and Dillon will be Caldwell County 4-H’s district entries. All three also achieved the standard of excellence.

In the area of science and technology, Eli Dillon’s project record received a gold county award and a notation for standard of excellence.

Livestock 4-H Club members and leaders pose at the 2022 4-H Achievement Night in Lenoir. Many youth in the group show livestock, but members are not required to own livestock to participate in the 4-H Club.

In the personal development and leadership category, Keaton Benfield was a gold award recipient for ages 8-10 and Addie Dillon was a gold recipient for ages 13-15 with a notation for standard of excellence.

Peyton Denning’s communications and expressive arts project record earned gold with a notion for standard of excellence, and Zöe Smith completed a project record in the healthy lifestyles project area.

When youth have completed at least three years of project work in an area, they can compile a portfolio of their work. In animal science, Emily Shuping earned gold for her project portfolio.

Zöe Smith, Jackson Corea and Ava Tugman were recognized for their completion of the 40 Hours of Service program in 2021. From January to July, each member logged 40 hours of service. They made dog toys for a pet rescue and Valentine’s Day cards for seniors. Other service projects included picking up trash at Redwood Park and delivering food with Soul Good ministries among many others.

4-H participation has increased from 124 youth in 2020 to 342 youth in 2021. Of that, 103 were members of 4-H Clubs in 2021. That is an increase from 81 members in 2020 and 76 members in 2019. Enrollment numbers have not been released yet for 2022.

To join 4-H, learn about clubs and programs or sign up for 4-H camp, contact Caldwell County’s Extension center at 828-757-1258. Families may also email county 4-H agent Sarah Kocher at

Sarah Kocher is the 4-H Youth Development Agent with Caldwell County Cooperative Extension. The Caldwell County Cooperative Extension Center, 120 Hospital Ave. NE #1 in Lenoir, provides access to resources of N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University through educational programs and publications.

Support the Caldwell Journal for as little as $1 a month through Patreon. Thank you!