4-H members awarded, top 10 named

WAKARUSA — The Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds would seem to be practically deserted these days, in comparison to the whirlwind of activity that was featured there a month or so ago. The honors and medals have since been distributed; the members have returned to school; the skillfully rendered crafts are now proudly displayed; and the animals have scattered among various locations around the county.
So although the images from the fair have already been inscribed into memories, the season wasn’t quite over for those who belong to the Wakarusa chapter of 4-H, known as the “Knee Deep in 4-H” club. Tuesday, Aug. 14, leaders and students celebrated a year of triumphs and accolades as they gathered for their annual banquet at the Wakarusa Missionary Church.
Of the 89 members who registered for membership at the beginning of the 4-H year, 73 went on to complete projects in fields of interest ranging from animals and farming to culinary arts, sewing, and countless other artistically themed talents. Two of the club’s high school-age students were lauded for having achieved 10 years of membership.  Brandon Hall and Alley Bailey were heralded for a decade of impressive achievements, including ten years of awards, scholarships, and other honors of distinction spanning local, regional, and state levels.
Bailey was also at the top of a list of 10 members who demonstrated exceptional participation this year through regular attendance at meetings, becoming involved in club activities, and other principles of accomplishment. The additional honorees were Andrew Bailey, Amanda Byland, Noah Brown, Toni Papandrea, Madeline Bailey, Dillion Weldy, Malorie Weldy, Jenna Mikel, and Jason Weldy.
The Bailey siblings were not the only ones within their family receiving honors this year.  Patriarch Paul Bailey was feted at the state level for having devoted 20 years of exemplary volunteerism. During the banquet, Bailey’s wife, Patti, along with Tammy Martin, were both presented with flowers and gifts as a gesture of appreciation for their ongoing guidance and leadership for the club.
Three of the “Knee Deep in 4-H” members were also congratulated for having contributed mightily to the annual Geranium Sales promotion. Elesia Pruitt racked up the top sales figures, followed by Braden Mikel and Noah Brown.
Award pins were given to dozens of Wakarusa area youth, to commemorate their years of dedication and commitment to the 4-H club’s mission and ideals. Those receiving recognition were:
• One year — Matthew Yoder, Christopher Weldy, Samuel Schlatter, Hunter Lechlitner, Cameron Iwema, Andre Freitas, Desirae Diamond, Cheyanne Diamond, Halle DeMien, Cameron Birk, Reese Barhydt, and Andrew Bailey
• Two years — Maggie Yoder, Ellie Yoder, Jason Weldy, Grace Richert, Kiana Piercy, Brett Maust, Elizabeth Jansen, Quinten Hunsberger, Khalan Hostetler, Serena Gerber, Tyler Cronkright, Collin Blosser, Ryan Miller, and Laura Eby
• Three years — Nathaniel Williams, Elizabeth Williams, Alise Whiteman, Victoria Troxel, Nicklas Sherk, Kenneth Schlatter, Amanda Peffley, Logan Nevenhoven, Braden Mikel, Jason McNeill, Liam Hammond, Amanda Byland, Noah Brown, Alaina Benjamin, Madeline Bailey, Gretchen Adams, Dillion Weldy, and Garrett Weldy
• Four years — Sarah McNeill, Abbey McNeill, Travis Brovont, Cody Brovont, and Courtney Lengacher
• Five years — Joshua Weldy, Nicole Smith, Benjamin Richert, Chaynie Belcher, Kate Adams, Abigail Adams, Megan Nunemaker, and Bradley Tierney
• Six years — Zachary Yoder, Malorie Weldy, Taylor Troxel, and Kayley Price
• Seven years — Elesia Pruitt, Toni Papandrea, Mariah Slabaugh, Ashley Maust, and Blakely Lengacher.
• Eight years — Becca Slabaugh, Tevin Pruitt, and Haley Schultz
• Nine years — Zachary Wilson, Ryan Thompson, Dylon Price, Jenna Mikel, and Nathan Bailey.