Hidalgo County 4-H members recognized at 2018 4-H Roundup

July 18, 2018

Writer: Paul Schattenberg, 210-467-6575, paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu

Contact: Luis Saldana, 956-968-5581, luis.saldana@ag.tamu.edu

WESLACO – Four Hidalgo County 4-H’ers were standouts at the 2018 Texas 4-H Roundup held recently in College Station, according to Luis Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist for 4-H youth development, Weslaco.

“We have a very diverse 4-H program here in South Texas and that goes for Hidalgo County,” Saldana said. “Through our county 4-H programs and activities we have something for just about everyone – from animal projects to science to fashion to public speaking to community service.”

In Texas, the 4-H program is administered through AgriLife Extension, part of the Texas A&M System. Texas 4-H is the agency’s youth education and outreach component.

Saldana said three of the four Hidalgo County 4-H’ers were distinguished at the 4-H Roundup as scholarship recipients and one as a state champion.

“Charles Lee and Matthew Salinas both received a $10,000 scholarship from the Texas 4-H Foundation through funding provided by the Richard Wallrath Educational Foundation,” Saldana said. “And Brody Hill received a $3,000 Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo Scholarship.”

He said Elyssa Rodriguez, who has been in the 4-H program in Hidalgo County for seven years, won the statewide competition in the Fashion Show Natural Fibers — Wool category at roundup.

“These four share many of the personal characteristics which we try to promote and develop through 4-H,” Saldana said. “Some of those include leadership and teamwork skills, self-motivation, and social and communications skills. They are high achievers, top students and excellent role models for the younger 4-H’ers. They are also all very active in 4-H at the county  level and have all served on their 4-H county council and as Hidalgo County 4-H ambassadors.”

Saldana said Lee, 18, who has been in 4-H for eight years, has been active in horse projects, public speaking and 4-H contests. Salinas, 18, a seven-year member, has been active in family and consumer science projects, beef cattle projects and public speaking. Hill, 18, in 4-H for six  years, has been involved in livestock projects and leadership activities.

“Elyssa’s focus has mainly been on food, nutrition, clothing, textiles and public speaking,” Saldana said. “We’re very proud of her being a state champion, but are also proud of her community service and for her service as an ambassador in three Texas 4-H programs.”

As state champion, Rodriguez will represent Texas at the National 4-H competition next year in Colorado.

Elyssa Rodriguez, a 4-H member from Hidalgo County, was state champion for the Fashion Show Natural Fibers — Wool category at the 2018 State Roundup in College Station. (Photo courtesy Elyssa Rodriguez)

“I was able to win the state championship not only because of my knowledge of fashion but also because I learned about other topics related to natural fibers,” Rodriguez said. “Being in 4-H taught me about natural fibers and resources and thinking of fashion in terms of animal husbandry and plant agriculture. I also learned a lot about the Texas economy and about sheep and goat breeds.”

Rodriguez, 16, a seven-year 4-H member is also a 4-H Healthy Texas ambassador, Texas 4-H Fashion and Interior Design Program ambassador and was selected as one of only 15  4-H members from throughout the state to be a Texas 4-H Water Ambassador.

Rodriguez, who plans to become a chemical engineer, said she also likes knowing how things work and why they are useful for a particular purpose.

“4-H has given me the opportunity to get hands-on experience in the areas that interest me as well as the opportunity to work with other people in my community on issues that matter,” she said.

Some of the issues she is currently addressing through her 4-H activities include healthy eating, ensuring water quality in the area colonias and inspiring others to be more physically active.

“These four Hidalgo County 4-H’ers have devoted a lot of time and put in a lot of effort in their community,” Saldana said. “I’m glad they were recognized at the 4-H Roundup and expect they will continue to distinguish themselves in many other positive ways in the future.”

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