4-H Alumni Association holds banquet

by Verla Peichl Review Correspondent


The Wisconsin 4-H Key Awards were presented by Farm Bureau Representative Fritz Johanning. Recipients are: L-R, Victoria Smith, Megan Grimmenga, Sadie Mather, Rebekah Schalk, Amanda Smith. Not pictured: Randy Niffenegger. — Submitted photo The Wisconsin 4-H Key Awards were presented by Farm Bureau Representative Fritz Johanning. Recipients are: L-R, Victoria Smith, Megan Grimmenga, Sadie Mather, Rebekah Schalk, Amanda Smith. Not pictured: Randy Niffenegger. — Submitted photo PLYMOUTH - The 2014 Sheboygan County 4-H Alumni Association Banquet was recently held at the Roadside Bar & Grill.

This is a special night, not only because it gives the alumni a chance to visit but they have the opportunity to present scholarships to well deserving 4-H graduates who are moving from one station in life to achieve another challenge that is of their choosing.

Cathy Beumler, 4-H Alumni- President, welcomed the group and Sharleen Meinnert led them in the pledges. The invocation was given by Frank Steiner.

Opening remarks were given by Melissa Born. She proudly stated that her grandmother, Margaret Born, was one of the original alumni that started the organization and was the first president elected in 1991.

“In 1997 they started the 4-H Alumni scholarship foundation, giving out one $500 scholarship,” said Born.


Scholarship Awards. Back row: L-R, Victoria Smith, Sadie Mather, Dale Hodgson, Katelynn Mauk, Anna Beining. Front row: L-R, Lizzy Widder, Emilie Burkhardt, Megan Grimmenga. — Submitted photo Scholarship Awards. Back row: L-R, Victoria Smith, Sadie Mather, Dale Hodgson, Katelynn Mauk, Anna Beining. Front row: L-R, Lizzy Widder, Emilie Burkhardt, Megan Grimmenga. — Submitted photo

Born noted that she didn’t know where to begin about speaking on the benefits of 4-H. She knows there is so much to learn and she has grown from all the benefits that 4-H has to offer. She then broke down the 4-H pledge and what it means, not only to her, but to all that have ever belonged or still belong in 4-H.

“I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living,” said Born, “but do we all know exactly what the pledge means?

“As I got to thinking,” continued Born, “I realized that each and everyone of us has a journey unlike anyone else’s. Everyone’s impact on the world during their involvement in 4-H is as original as a fingerprint, and together we leave all of our prints around our clubs, communities, our country and our world.

“4-H resembles but one more H to me,” said Born. “Home. Although I am unaware of whatever it is that God has planned for me in this life, I do know, that because of this amazing organization, the endless opportunities I had had because of it, and the wonderful people involved, Wisconsin and Sheboygan County 4-H will always be my home.

“I want to thank all of you for your dedication to this association and for truly making the best better,” said Born.


Special scholarships. L-R: Michelle Meinnert, Melissa Born, Ashley Doebert, Rebecca Schwartz. — Submitted photo Special scholarships. L-R: Michelle Meinnert, Melissa Born, Ashley Doebert, Rebecca Schwartz. — Submitted photo

The Sheboygan County 4-H Alumni Award was presented to Earl Opgenorth, who was not present, but in his absence Barb Scholten verbalized the accomplishments of Opgenorth and the reason he truly deserves this award.

“Earl Opgenorth started the Wayside Wabblers 4-H Club in Sheboygan and then started the Ourtown Orioles 4-H Club near Sheboygan Falls,” said Scholten. “After he started the Ourtown Orioles he stepped down as general leader and became the poultry and rabbit leader for his club. He also was the poultry open class superintendent for 20 years.”

Scholten listed numerous things that Opgenorth was involved in and how his passion for 4-H never has wavered and he still stays involved and makes his presence known whenever it’s possible.

“I remember Earl as a very caring leader and was always there to help the members with their projects,” said Scholten. “And because of all that he’s done I’m honored to give Earl the 4-H Alumni Award for his many years of service to the Sheboygan County 4-H program. Thanks Earl.”

The 2014 Sheboygan County 4-H Key Awards were presented by Sheboygan County Farm Bureau Representative, Fritz Johanning, and 4-H Youth Development Program Coordinator, Linda Lueder. The Wisconsin 4-H Key Award is one of the highest honors a 4-H member can receive. It is presented to youth who have made outstanding contributions to 4-H through the development of leadership, citizenship and community service.

The youth receiving the 4-H Key Award are ones who have demonstrated consistent growth in their 4-H involvement, developed and applied their leadership skill and actively participated in the functions of their club and their community.

Recipients are selected through a process of a written application and face to face interview with a selection committee made up of 4-H volunteers. This year there are six recipients.

Megan Grimmenga, daughter of Jeff and Kathy is a nine-year member of the Herman Cheerios 4-H Club. She has been active in numerous club committees and on her application she wrote, “4-H has enabled me to become a better person by allowing me to develop unique skills. It has taught me time management and self-reliance. I have learned how to communicate and forge bonds with younger children as well as older adults.”

Sadie Mather, daughter of John and Karen, is a seven-year member of the Sheboygan County Wranglers 4-H Club. She has taken part in numerous activities including the REINS Therapeutic Riding Program and church activities. On her application she stated, “4-H has enabled me to overcome my nerves when it comes to public speaking. The leadership opportunities in 4-H are great practice for my future and I know that 4-H has benefitted me also as a citizen.”

Randy Niffenegger, son of Fred and Tammie, is a 13-year member of Scott Pioneers 4-H Club. He has been active in 4-H activities as well as in the community. On his 4-H award application he wrote, “4-H has molded me in an indescribable way. I have made lasting and priceless friends, memories and life skills. I have learned everything I know about leadership, empathy and myself in 4-H.”

Rebekah Schalk, daughter of Dave and Deb, is a 12-year member of 4-H, her most recent club being the Cascade Cloverhands. She has been active in the clubs and has held offices in them. Her awards application states, “4-H helped me learn more ways to help our community. It has taught me to manage my time and use my free time to benefit my community. I have also learned skills that I will carry with me through the rest of my life.”

Amanda Smith is the daughter of Edson and Althea. She is a 13-year member of 4-H in the Spring Valley 4-H Club. She has held club offices and participated in club and community activities. Her award application states, “4-H has given me the tools and the confidence to start my own business in fishing rod repair and fiber crafts. I can work indepen- dently or as part of a team, and I have learned how to be both a leader and a follower.”

Victoria Smith is the daughter of Edson and Althea. She is a 12- year member of 4-H currently in the Spring Valley 4-H Club.She has been active in community activities as well as her club. On her award application she states, “Through the years and experiences I have learned to become more independent and more self-confident. I have been taught skills by projects and found role models in leaders that I wouldn’t have otherwise found. I have gained memories, knowledge and friends by going to events such as State Fair, Madison Youth Conference, Winter Leadership Camp and our very own Sheboygan County 4-H Camp.”

Sheboygan County 4-H Leaders Association Scholarships were awarded to:

Emilie Burkhardt, member of the Madison All Stars for 12 years, who will attend UW-Stevens Point to major in Communicative Disorders.

Megan Grimmenga, member of the Herman Cheerios 4-H Club for 9 years, who plans to major in Biochemistry at the UW-Madison.

Katelynn Mauk, an 11-year member of the Mosel Farm & Home 4-H Club, who will attend the University of Wisconsin-Platteville majoring in Agronomy or Soil & Crop Science.

Victoria Smith, member of the Spring Valley 4-H Club, who has chosen the options of a Business Degree and hopes to explore the idea of international business.

William Bitter 4-H Memorial Scholarships were presented to two recipients. Bitter was an active leader in the Herman Cheerio’s 4-H Club for 23 years helping youth learn about both the poultry and beef projects.

Anna Beining, member of the Sheboygan County Wranglers 4-H Club for ten years, is the daughter of David and Nona and her goal is to work in a zoo which will combine her love of animals and conservation.

Melanie Cyr, has also been a member of the Sheboygan County Wranglers 4-H Club for 11 years. She is the daughter of Anthony and Michele and is attending Black Hawk College where her current major is equestrian sciences but will be moving towards a degree in Agricultural Communications.

The Suhrke Memorial Scholarship was presented to Elizabeth (Lizzy) Widder, daughter of Steve and Heidi and a 12-year member of the Herman Cheerios 4-H Club.She plans to study agronomy with options in plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology at Iowa State University.

The Edith Tauschek Memorial Scholarship was presented to Sadie Mather. Tauschek was well known for her active role in cake decorating, home environment, house plants and being a part of the Madison All Stars. She also was the director for many performances of her club in the Music and Drama Festival.

Mather is pursuing a career in Criminal Justice with the future goal of becoming a police detective.

The 4-H Memorial Scholarship was presented to Dale Hodgson, son of David and Pam. He is a 10-year member of the Franklin Cadets 4-H Club and plans to pursue the job of being a power lineman for an electrical power company with an electrical power distribution degree.

The Alumni Association Scholarship was presented to Rebecca Schwartz, daughter of Eugene and Kathy Schwartz. She was an 11-year member of the Spring Valley 4-H Club and is currently studying at UW-La- Crosse, majoring in Organizational and Professional Communication and minoring in Theatre Arts.

The Leona Hoppert Memorial Scholarship was presented to Melanie Cyr.

The Darwin DeGroff Memorial Scholarship was presented to Michelle Meinnert, daughter of Jeff and Deb. She was a member of the Johnsonville Hustlers 4-H Club for 11 years and studies at the UW-Platteville were she’s majoring in Animal Science with a minor in Agribusiness and emphasis in Dairy.

The Harold Depping Memorial Scholarship was presented to Melissa Born, daughter of John and Sue. She is an 11-year member of the Herman Cheerios 4-H Club and is a junior in college studying communication.

The Wallace Kleinhans Memorial Scholarship was presented to Ashley Doebert, daughter of Russell and Kathy. She was a member of the Plymouth Shamrock 4-H Club for 13 years and is currently attending UWMilwaukee where she is planning to major in Japanese and Chemistry for Pre-Optometry. She is a certified adult and children’s vision screener through Prevent Blindness of America.

The Merlin Fiedler Memorial Scholarship was presented to Jennifer Kuffel. She is finishing out her year as 2013 Sheboygan County Fairest of the Fair and is attending the UW-River Falls where she is currently studying Agriculture Marketing and Communication and Crop Science.

The scholarships total that was presented to the deserving recipients is $3,000.

Linda Lueder, 4-H Youth Development Program Coordinator closed the evening with these remarks.

“This year’s Sheboygan County 4-H program has a membership of about 975 youth with 370 adult volunteers,” said Lueder. “There are 33 clubs scattered throughout Sheboygan County, making it possible for the youth to participate in the program.

“Finally, presently the most involved projects in Sheboygan County include Photography, Horse and Pony, Celebrate Art, Drawing, Painting and Archery,” said Lueder.

“I want to thank you all for your involvement in this amazing program,” said Lueder. “4-H is the success that it is because of the volunteer and parent support that you all give to the youth. You helped these youth succeed.”


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