Illinois 4-H Foundation honors exceptional youth at scholarship awards ceremony

Gracie Prose of Ogle County received the Civil Engagement and Global Living award.

Prose, Carlson honored with scholarships

CHAMPAIGN – The career achievements of Illinois 4-H members were lauded at the Illinois 4-H Celebration of Excellence held April 1 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Champaign. The Illinois 4-H Foundation awarded $45,000 in scholarships to 4-H youth.

“Our Celebration of Excellence event honors an amazing group of young people who have made 4-H and their communities the focus of their time and talents,” Lisa Diaz, University of Illinois Extension assistant dean and 4-H director, said. “4-H youth are making a difference in their communities by growing gardens, packaging meals for the hungry, educating peers about healthy choices, designing technological solutions to today’s issues, and extending a compassionate hand to those who need encouragement and support.”

The scholarships are awarded to five Illinois 4-H members in nine focus categories and are based on merit and a demonstrated standard of 4-H excellence.

“I personally look forward to the event every year,” Illinois 4-H Foundation board member Jenny Webb of McLean County said. “It is so energizing to see amazing youth in this room and what they are accomplishing.”

Forty-five young adults were chosen as scholarship winners with each winner receiving a $1,000 scholarship.

Civil Engagement and Global Living

The Civil Engagement and Global Living award recognizes youth that have focused on 4-H work in service to others. The winner from Ogle County 4-H was Gracie Prose, Oregon.

This award is sponsored by Nann Armstrong, Ron and Melanie Warfield, and Dee Murray.

Personal Growth

The Personal Growth award recognizes youth that have focused on personal growth through their participation in the 4-H program. The winner from Ogle County 4-H was Lauren Carlson, Byron.

This award is sponsored by Pat Clickener, Barbara and George Clark, Janice Seitz, and the Illinois 4-H Foundation Legacy Endowment.

Scholarship support allows students to continue to follow their learning pathways for post-secondary education.

“I’ve always had a love for natural resources and wanted to pursue education and a career with it,” William Weber of Livingston County, natural resources and environmental science scholarship recipient, said. “Without the donors' help, I wouldn’t have been given the support to further my education.”

Prose, the winner of the Deb Stocker Illinois 4-H Youth Leadership Team Scholarship, was also celebrated at the event. This award honors an exceptional member of the 4-H Youth Leadership Team.

The scholarship program is supported through private donors and the Illinois 4-H Foundation.

“The Illinois 4-H Foundation works hand-in-hand with the statewide program, and our sole mission is to be able to provide private funding so that 4-H can do more,” Webb said. “We know that 4-H programming is leading the way nationally in a variety of ways, and we are so grateful for our donors’ support.”

The ceremony program is available on the Illinois 4-H website.