BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU AgCenter honored six Louisiana 4-H and FFA students and one adult leader Saturday, Feb. 15, for their work with youth livestock projects.
The awards were presented during ceremonies that concluded the 79th annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, La. This weeklong event is the statewide competition that students in 4-H and FFA livestock projects enter after placing in parish and district shows. The show annually attracts approximately 2,500 young people who exhibit about 7,000 animals.
Sponsored by the Louisiana 4-H Foundation and Louisiana FFA, the awards recognize young people and adults for outstanding contributions to or work in youth livestock programs. Applicants and leaders are required to complete a member’s record book or an application to be considered for these awards.
This year's winners are 4-H volunteer leader Jackie Simon of St. Martin Parish and 4-H and FFA members Luke Patin of St. Martin Parish, Luke Seguin of Livingston Parish, Alexis Renae Bearden of Bossier Parish, Saige Tassin of St. Tammany Parish, Shane Danos of Calcasieu Parish and Austin Gaspard of Vermilion Parish.
The Attorney General’s Award recognizes volunteer 4-H leaders who have assisted livestock project members. The 2014 recipient is Simon, who has been a livestock project leader for 15 years.
Simon has assisted many St. Martin Parish livestock project members with showmanship techniques and good character. She worked with 45 livestock members this year and 40 the past year.
Simon conducts annual poultry clinics for exhibitors and parents about raising birds and getting ready for shows. She also assists at parish achievement days with hands-on educational programming related to the animal industry, exemplifying the experiential learning model.
The C.W. "Dub" Kennedy Award, named for a former, longtime LSU AgCenter Livestock Show manager, recognizes a 4-H'er for outstanding animal science records and work with various 4-H livestock projects. Patin, of St. Martin Parish, is this year's winner.
Patin has been a 4-H member for six years and has shown broiler chickens and pygmy goats. His goats have won breed grand champion and breed reserve champion at his parish livestock show as well as overall grand champion pygmy at a district show. He has also been a state Shooting Sports teen ambassador. Patin said his involvement in 4-H and other clubs has taught him responsibility, fairness, citizenship, teamwork and leadership.
The Superintendent of Education Awards are presented to two students 13 years of age or younger who have excelled in 4-H or FFA livestock work. Seguin, of Livingston Parish, and Bearden, of Bossier Parish, are this year's winners.
Seguin is a 12-year-old who has served as the 4-H vice president of North Corbin Junior High School. He enjoys showing cows and chickens and participates in shooting sports. Seguin follows the 4-H pledge as his model to help people and said 4-H teaches him lessons that make him a better person.
Bearden is a fifth-grade 4-H'er. She shows pigs and placed first in the Bossier Parish swine showmanship class and second in the market hog class. Bearden said hard work, teamwork and time management are the keys to her success. She has served as secretary and president of her 4-H club at Benton Elementary. Bearden wants to become a veterinarian.
The winner of the 2014 FFA Superintendent’s Livestock Award is Tassin, of the Fifth Ward Junior High School FFA chapter in St. Tammany Parish. Tassin, who is president of her FFA chapter, has raised 15 head of registered Beefmaster cattle and one commercial heifer. She has been showing since she was 9 years old. She received a youth loan from USDA when she was 10 that helped her expand her herd. She plans to attend LSU and major in agriculture.
The winner of the 2014 FFA Governor’s Award is Danos, of the Iowa High School FFA chapter. Danos is a senior at Iowa High School who has shown Brangus cattle at the local, district, state and national level. He has learned about artificial insemination, expected progeny differences (EPDs) and sire selection. Upon graduation from high school, Danos plans to attend college and maintain his Brangus and commercial herds.
The 2014 4-H Governor’s Award was presented to Gaspard, a Vermillion Parish 4-H member who attends Kaplan High School. He has been a 4-H'er for eight years and has served as his club’s vice president, 4-H southwest regional representative and state 4-H parliamentarian. Gaspard raised pigs for seven years and won a parish senior premier exhibitor belt buckle. He also has won the Louisiana State Beef Ambassador and National Junior Beef Ambassador awards. Gaspard said 4-H has taught him that success is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.
Olivia McClure is a student worker in Communications