By DL PERRIN
THE GOSHEN NEWS
LAGRANGE — Two new 2013 4-H Master Achievers, Khyleigh North and Chanden Lawson, were honored during the opening of the 60th annual LaGrange County 4-H Fair Saturday.
The Master Achievers are young 4-H members, ranked every year on their overall contribution to the 4-H organization.
According to 4-H volunteer Becky Younce, it is figured by many things, including how many years they have been an active participating member of 4-H.
“The achievers have to complete many projects over their years,” she said. “They have to be at least in 10th grade. They have to demonstrate public speaking skills, community service, assisting with Junior 4-H clubs, mentoring and showing organizational skills at the many 4-H events over the years.”
North is the daughter of Cheryl and Michael North of Wolcottville. She will be a senior at Prairie Heights in the fall.
The nine-year 4-H veteran has a passion and a talent for handling livestock.
Her favorite project is swine. Her natural ability and past performance in this category is well known and gains her a lot of attention. This week already she has won grand champion in Market Lamb; reserve grand champion in Barrow Swine; grand champion and reserve grand champion in Gilt Swine and was awarded Premiere Showman for her 6-month-old, 300-pound Gilt Swine named “Lil.”
Not only known locally, North has shown nationally at the Summer Spectacular, Summer Type Conference, American Royal and World Pork Expo. She has also competed for the past nine years at the Indiana State Fair.
“I seem to have a built-in natural way with the animals,” North said. “All I have achieved I owe to the support of my mom, my two brothers and my uncle Chris. 4-H means a lot to me. All of my life-long friendships were made through 4-H. I learn something new every day.
“Taking care of livestock brings you down to earth. You talk about focus — I am focused on my animals. They take priority. I’m hungry? Well too bad I don’t eat until the animals are fed and the stalls cleaned, then I take care of my needs. They are dependent upon me so they come first. When I need to vent I go to the barn and it isn’t long before I am at peace.”
In past fairs, she has shown sheep, beef and goat and competed in foods, microwave, garden, arts, creative writing, photography and scrapbooking. She won overall champion a couple of times in baked and preserved foods competitions. Her highest honor (so far) has been at the DeKalb All-Area Show of Showmen 2012. She received top showman award for both swine and beef.
After high school, she wants to be a veterinary technician, maybe a vet.
Lawson is a quiet, unassuming young man who is low key but accomplished.
“I would not be where I am today in 4-H if it wasn’t for my mom,” Lawson said. “Whatever I wanted to do my parents were behind me 100 percent. They even opened up a 4-H savings account for me in third grade so I could save my winnings.”
Lawson was awarded the title of Master Achiever because of his dedication and commitment to 4-H.
“All I know is 4-H works to keep kids out of trouble,” he said.
When asked how he arrived at that conclusion, he said, “I can look at the kids I’ve grown up with that were in 4-H and those that weren’t. The ones that didn’t get involved, got into trouble. It is just something I noticed. Me and most of the kids in 4-H are too busy to get into stuff. Myself, I work two jobs, go to school and do 4-H projects. Now, as a junior leader in 4-H I help out the younger kids with their projects. This year I ran the can sculpture project in the barn. We build houses out of canned food and people vote by donating money. All of the proceeds go to the Clothes and Food Basket and the local anima;l shelter.”
Yes, Lawson is a busy kid. He is a native of Wolcottville and a nine-year 4-H’er; president of the LaGrange 4-H Dog Club; competed in started calf, rabbits, poultry, horse and pony, ATV, tractor, arts, recycling, foods and food preservation. He also does well in out of town competitions. He participated in the regional Farm Tractor Project and scored the only perfect score on the written test.
He is also a Johnson Township junior firefighter.
After graduating, he wants to attend a diesel/auto technical school. Currently, he holds down two jobs at Twin-Six and at Bogen Concrete. He is the son of Sharrita and Mitch Carpenter of Wolcottville and Robert Lawson of Fort Wayne.
Presenting the honors to Khyleigh and Chanden were 2012’s Master Achievers, Daniel Weaver and Jordan Younce.