Local Students to Attend 4-H Summit

Thursday, January 26, 2017
Sydney Wofford (left) of Rector and Destiny Hall of Piggott.(courtesy photo)

Destiny Hall of Piggott High School and Sydney Wofford of Rector High School will be among the Arkansas delegation attending the National 4-H Youth Summit Series (Healthy Living) in Washington, D.C., Feb. 17-20.

Both wrote competition essays about the importance of healthy living and how to make a difference in local communities. Each young lady mentioned taking time to think about "where to go with such a broad essay topic." They found the key because both were selected as winners, both eligible to attend the National Summit.

Destiny said she had not read her email acceptance letter when Sydney texted her. Destiny congratulated Sydney on winning the contest. "No, it's not just me. You are going, too. You won, too!" The delegation from Arkansas, comprised from the various regions of the state, is the first Arkansas group invited to attend the national seminar.

Destiny, sixteen-year-old daughter of Michael and Ranee Hall, is a junior at PHS and is a valued leader at the school, according to principal Barry DeHart. Destiny shared that she was intrigued by the 4-H organization and asked Clay County coordinator Debbie Baker for information. Baker invited Destiny and Sydney, along with others, to write essays this year to be in competition for Summit opportunities.

Sydney Wofford, sixteen-year-old daughter of Rob and Dee Wofford, works in all aspects of Rector High School's program and principal Wade Williams speaks highly of her. Sydney commented that each of the three high schools in Clay County offers a 4-H chapter. The focus of any 4-H program is Head, Heart, Hands, and Health and Sydney said her essay combined information from various 4-H programs. By linking healthy living with eventual financial stability, Sydney's ideas must have impressed the judges.

Both young ladies are articulate, strong leaders who are in search of opportunity, being quick to notice where that opportunity lies. Destiny said, "Sometimes people think being from such a small place offers no opportunity. It's here, but you have to take advantage of all of it -- everything you can." Sydney echoed the comment, saying she considered the Summit to be "an amazing opportunity not only to meet people from all over the nation, but to be in Washington, D. C., and be able to hear ideas to bring back to our communities."

"Around here, all people talk about is barbecue and sports," Destiny said. "People think being in a healthy lifestyle means running five miles every day and eating broccoli." Sydney commented, "Healthy Living is important everywhere, but Arkansas is sixth in obesity ratings. We need programs to make healthy living enjoyable, fun, and a habit for everyone, starting with young people."

Both girls expressed their excitement with the Arkansas-devised program entitled Yoga for Kids. They participated in the training and enjoyed the activity saying, "Yoga can be noisy, fun, and different from adult Yoga. Movement, flexibility, balance, strength in a non-competitive environment" brings many long-term benefits. The young ladies are excited to share Yoga for Kids and make a presentation of their own at one of the sessions at the Summit. The meetings will take place at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.

Debbie Baker is the sponsor for Clay County and Piggott High School. Christina Boyd is sponsor at Rector High School. Destiny and Sydney both said they are thankful for the opportunity, for the encouragement from their parents and from their teachers.

"I'm so glad Mrs. Renea (Shavalia) gave me the flyer," Sydney said. "And Mrs. J. (Constance Johnston) proofed my essay." The girls' trip is wholly-funded through a National 4-H Youth Choice Grant and a grant through the Wal-Mart Foundation.

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