Perspectives Online

Blue, Stogner, Black honored at 4-H Lifetime Achievement Celebration event

Flanked by state 4-H officers La’Meshia Whittington and John Norwood (at left) and Ann Margaret Dietrich and Michael Drake (at right) are Chancellor Randy Woodson, Sen. Dan Blue, Larry Stogner, Dr. Chester Black and Dean Johnny Wynne.

Photo by Becky Kirkland

The 2010 North Carolina 4-H Lifetime Achievement Awards Celebration was particularly special this year. Not only did the annual fund-raising event honor the lifetime achievements of former 4-H members, families and supporters, but it also included participation by N.C. State University’s newly arrived chancellor, Dr. Randy Woodson. Woodson joined more than 400 attendees as N.C. Sen. Dan Blue and ABC-11 senior anchor Larry Stogner received 4-H Lifetime Achievement Awards. Additionally, Dr. Chester Black, former state 4-H program leader, was honored for his recent induction into the National 4-H Hall of Fame.

“When I was asked to be here on my second night at N.C. State, I said I wouldn’t miss it because I understand the value of 4-H to North Carolina,” Woodson said. “I’m very proud to be here. 4-H is a special program and a great asset to the state of North Carolina.”

CALS Dean Johnny Wynne (right) welcomes new N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson to the 2010 North Carolina 4-H Lifetime Achievement Awards Celebration on April 6.
Photo by Becky Kirkland
4-H members played key roles in the celebration, held April 6 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Durham. Nefertiti Byrd, Miss Black North Carolina 2009 and a former 4-H’er from Warren County, served as emcee of the event. Joining her were state 4-H officers La’Meshia Whittington, John Norwood and Ann Margaret Dietrich. Edgecombe County 4-H’er Kaitlyn Flythe, singing “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” and traditional Latino dance performers from Lee County’s Magetsi 4-H Club were featured entertainers in a program that also included silent and live auctions.

There was a “Showcase of Excellence,” as well, with 4-H’ers from across the state demonstrating science and technology, community service and leadership projects. Their interactive exhibits featured topics such as technology, the environment, entrepreneurship and volunteerism.

The 4-H program is the youth education program of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, based at N.C. State and N.C. A&T State universities. It took root as corn and tomato clubs in Ahoskie in 1909 and soon evolved from a rural youth program into a statewide organization with more than 241,000 active members and 21,000 volunteers and youth development professionals.

“North Carolina 4-H is a partnership in every sense of the word, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences here at N.C. State is one of our top supporters. In all three areas of its mission -- academics, research and extension -- the College acts as a conduit between the University and the people of our state,” said Byrd, as she introduced Dr. Johnny Wynne, CALS dean.

Woodson greets 4-H’ers at the Showcase of Excellence exhibits.
Photo by Marc Hall
“Last year marked a special anniversary for our College and for the 4-H program,” said Wynne. “As 4-H marked its centennial year, we celebrated its rich history but also began to look forward to its next exciting chapter. Through Cooperative Extension, 4-H symbolizes the true meaning of what a land grant university is all about: bringing knowledge directly to the people of our state and partnering with them to help their communities thrive.

“A hundred years ago, North Carolina 4-H was just beginning to take root in the rural communities of our state. Now, the College is proud to be the home of the largest youth development organization in North Carolina. … With forward-thinking programming, 4-H has grown from simple corn and tomato clubs, teaching members the basics of farm life, into a thriving program that falls in line with the fast-paced lives of today’s 4-H’ers.”

Wynne also thanked the boards of directors, volunteers and staff of the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service Foundation and North Carolina 4-H Development Fund for their work toward completing the $11.5 million Campaign for the Clover. “It is through their hard work with people like all of you here tonight that we will not only launch a second century of North Carolina 4-H, but we will be able to sustain it for the next hundred years,” Wynne said.

The dean then introduced Chancellor Woodson, who joined him in recognizing the evening’s honorees, Daniel T. Blue Jr., Larry Stogner and Dr. Chester Black.

Blue, N.C. State Senator, 14th District, is a managing partner in the firm Blue, Stephens and Fellers and is a Robeson County 4-H alumnus. Elected to the N.C. House in 1980, he has played a major role in modernizing the criminal code and juvenile justice laws, handled bills related to worker safety and chaired a judiciary committee and an appropriations committee on human resources.In 1990, he became the first black state House speaker in the South. In that role, he put financial safeguards in the state budget, performed a performance audit on state spending, improved teacher training, funding and educational standards and revamped the state's parole and corrections process.

Traditional Latino dancers from Lee County’s Magetsi 4-H Club performed at the event.
Photo by Becky Kirkland

“4-H was just a tremendous experience. It had a lasting imprint on me and shaped my values,” said Blue. “The leadership opportunities 4-H afforded me are the same kinds of qualities I’ve tried to pursue in my adult life. The values I’ve learned in 4-H have served me very well, not just in public office, but in life.”

Stogner, senior anchor and veteran broadcast journalist with ABC 11 Eyewitness News, is a Caswell County 4-H alumnus. He has covered every kind of political story from presidential primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire, to political conventions from 1988 to 2008, to presidential inaugurations from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. In the summer of 2002 he accompanied units of the 82nd Airborne Division into Afghanistan, where he provided live nightly reports from Kandahar and later produced an hour-long special Kandahar Diary. More recently, he has made two trips to Haiti to do live reports on hurricane relief efforts there.

It was 4-H that “prepared me for travel to far-off places,” Stogner said. “4-H taught me how to be a team player. What I really loved about 4-H was going to camp each year. This was my first exposure to life outside Caswell County. My best hope for 4-H is that more kids get involved.”

Recent National 4-H Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Chester D. Black served as state 4-H leader from 1970 to 1975. He is an alumnus of the Missouri 4-H program. While leader, he sought to expand 4-H's influence in cities, towns and rural areas. At that time, N.C. 4-H agents were either assistant agricultural or assistant home economics agents. Black cooperated with a small group of 4-H agents to convince the Extension Director to professionalize the 4-H agent position. He also initiated the addition of 4-H paraprofessional into the staffing model for county programs. The N.C. Association of Extension 4-H Agents was founded in 1972 as a result. Black also was instrumental in the development of graduate work with specific content for those choosing 4-H as a career track. The Chester D. Black Scholarship was established to recognize members of North Carolina Association of Extension 4-H Agents and provide professional development resources.

“I think what 4-H did for me early was to show me leadership from people who cared. It instilled in me a desire to be part of a helping profession,” Black said. “The best decision I ever made was to come to North Carolina. The people of North Carolina are special people … they care about others, and this is shown so truly in the 4-H program. I believe 4-H has a glorious future.”

“We are thrilled to honor Sen. Blue, Larry Stogner and Chester Black at the 4-H Lifetime Achievement Awards event,” said Dr. Marshall Stewart, state 4-H program leader. “These gentlemen epitomize the very best of North Carolina 4-H and set a tremendous example for our young people to follow.”

Terri Leith

Past Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Mr. Tommy Burleson
Mr. John Hood
Ms. Hilda Pinnix-Ragland
Mr. Rick Hendrick
Mr. Thomas W. Lambeth
Mr. Walter McGehee Hooper
The Honorable Beverly Eaves Perdue
The Honorable James B. Hunt, Jr.
President H. Martin Lancaster
Ms. L. Georgette McAuley
The Honorable John Belk
The Honorable Elaine F. Marshall
Dr. Daniel McFadden
Ms. Lois Britt
Dr. Dudley Flood
The Honorable Jesse Helms
Mr. Ned Jarrett
Ms. Anne Bryan
The Honorable James A. Graham
The Honorable Jeanette Hyde
Mr. Gordon Smith, III
The Honorable Charles Taylor
Dr. Leroy Walker, Sr.
The Honorable Marc Basnight
The Honorable Harold Brubaker
General H. Hugh Shelton, USA (Ret.)
Ms. Nova Thomas
Chancellor Dean Colvard
Mr. Charles A. Haynes
First Lady Carolyn Hunt
Mr. W. Duke Kimbrell
The Honorable Sue Myrick
President Dorothy Yancy