Two Pike County 4-H Teens recently received state recognition at the University of Kentucky: McKenzie Gearheart and Brooke Preston.
McKenzie was elected to be the Kentucky 4-H Secretary, while Brooke won the 4-H Leadership Award at the Kentucky Youth Seminar.
McKenzie is a 4-H member from Pike County in District 1. Originally from South Carolina, she had found her second home in Kentucky.
“I moved to Kentucky three years ago and immediately joined the Pike County 4-H Teen Council,” McKenzie said. “It was at these meetings that I got to connect with new people. I became a more sociable person thanks to 4-H.”
A graduate of Pikeville High School, McKenzie is the daughter of Adrienne and Dr. Walter Gearheart of Pikeville. As a member of the Pike County 4-H Council, she has served as reporter for the group and has been an active member of the Kentucky State 4-H Teen Council for two years.
This year, McKenzie said she was excited to begin her freshman year at Transylvania University in Lexington. She credited 4-H with helping her to become a leader and in her personal and professional growth. As secretary of Kentucky 4-H, she said she looked forward to using her time in office to help Kentucky 4-H grow in its positive impact on youth.
“I thank the county 4-H Program for the confidence to run for Kentucky 4-H State Secretary,” McKenzie said. “During council meetings, we as a council were taught how to be leaders, but the true test of our skills was at 4-H Camp as teen counselors.
“It is one thing to call you a leader, but to be one is a completely different.”
Brooke Preston, the Pike County 4-H President, is the daughter of Denise Cochran of Pikeville and Nathaniel Preston of Louisa. She also served two years on the State 4-H Teen Council. During the 2012 session of the Kentucky Youth Seminar, Brooke served as a junior leader. During the seminar, she participated in the leadership program. She won the leadership award for this conference and a $500 college scholarship.
“To be able to go to this seminar was a privilege but, to actually go and win first in the state in my division was completely enchanting,” Brooke said. “I cannot describe the feeling I felt and how proud I was to be able to represent Pike County so well.”
She was also a member of the team representing Kentucky during the National Institute of Cooperatives Education (NICE) in Blacksburg, Va., at Virginia Tech, held from July 28 through Aug.1. The groups simulated business and came up with creative solutions for business problems in the aspect of finance, marketing and resources.
“It is such a unique experience being here (in Virginia),” Brooke said. “I have learned more about business in the past year than I ever have. I encourage all you to get involved with the program and try their hardest. NICE is a once in a lifetime experience and I am honored to represent Kentucky.”
For more information about 4-H, visit the Pike County Extension Office located at 148 Trivette Drive, in Pikeville.