Westminster senior wins 4-H honor Presidential Tray is highest award

December 08, 1992|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

After being Miss 4-H and the Carroll County Farm Queen, winning a trip to the National 4-H Congress in Chicago, and taking national honors in its photography category, Heather Hull seems to have a grip on what it takes to be successful in 4-H.

Tomorrow she will prove her excellence once again as she grips the sides of the revered silver Presidential Tray -- the highest honor given in 4-H.

"I called my father, and he said, 'Holy smoke,' " Heather, 17, said of her achievement. She was already getting over what she described as shock: "I talked to the [24 semifinalists] and read their biographies, about their accomplishments, and I couldn't believe I was part of this group."

Robert Shirley, the Carroll County extension agent in charge of 4-H, said, "What they were looking for was the 12 4-H members in the United States who have done the best job in the areas of leadership, citizenship and achievement -- and we have one right here in Carroll County."

Only 12 trays were awarded among the 60 nominees -- one from each state and a few territories that sent representatives, Mr. Shirley said.

In the past six months, the Westminster High School senior has won $3,250 in projects relating to 4-H -- including the $250 she won for being named county Farm Queen.

The Kodak Corp. awarded Heather $1,500 for her achievement in photography, and Readers Digest sponsored the $1,500 scholarship that accompanies the silver tray.

Heather said her responsibilities after winning the highest 4-H honor will include traveling as a representative of 4-H, fund-raising and "being a good role model."

She said tennis star Arthur Ashe would speak at tomorrow's presentation ceremonies and the winners would be interviewed on a Chicago television station.

"Winning that Presidential Tray had a bit of luck involved, I'm sure," said Illona Hull, Heather's mother. "Everyone involved was probably very talented. They were all probably very good."

Mr. Shirley said that as soon as he heard about Heather's award, he offered her mother a plane ticket to Chicago to watch her daughter receive her tray tomorrow morning -- compliments of the Carroll 4-H Club.

"I'm trying not to pop too much," said Mrs. Hull, a teacher at Cockeysville Middle School. "It's been a long road for Heather, and she's worked very hard for it."

Heather's family is entrenched in 4-H. Her father, John "Jay" Hull Jr., judged shows and participated in many 4-H fairs when he was younger.

Her grandparents, John Sr. and Elinor, met while in 4-H, Heather's mother said.

Her younger siblings, Ginger, 15, and Lucas, 10, are also 4-H members.

"Ginger has set a lot of new goals for herself in the club after this weekend," Mrs. Hull said.

Heather's grandfather was one of the Carroll representatives to the National 4-H Congress in 1940.

"We are all thrilled to hear of her success," said his wife, Elinor. "Heather has been in 4-H for so many years and has always enjoyed it. We are so proud of her."

Heather hasn't rested on her laurels while at the convention. She practiced for a performance with the 4-H choir scheduled during the convention.

Other Carroll winners at the national level are Ashley Bair, 18, who won a $1,000 scholarship from the Ortho/Chevron Co. for her work in gardening, and Monica Feeser, 16, who will be bringing home a $1,500 scholarship from Syntex Animal Health products for her excellence in the beef category.

4-H'ers Shawnee Blauvelt, 15, Dollie Tasto, 16, and Michelle Zepp, 18, also attended as Carroll representatives.

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