The Duncan Banner
For a recent high school graduate, what could possibly be more exciting than heading off to the great adventure of college?
Being Stephens County’s first 4-H member to be inducted into the State Hall of Fame just might.
While most 4-H State Hall of Fame inductees are state officers or ambassadors, Jeromy Knapp of Central High was neither. He was one of two Hall of Fame members named at this year’s 4-H State Honor Night July 25 at Oklahoma State University.
In order to qualify, a 4-H member must be at least 16 and exhibit outstanding leadership and citizenship.
“For someone to be chosen that was not a state officer or ambassador, they must really have excelled in their project area,” said Kim Davis, extension educator for the OSU Extension Office.
There were 40 applicants for the honor, who were narrowed down to the top 20 “blue group,” a group in which Knapp was also a member last year. Will Derryberry, Kaila Williams and Ashley Powers were other Stephens County applicants who made the cut.
When the field was again narrowed to 10 finalists, Knapp, Derryberry and Williams — all Central High students — made it through.
Each of the top 10 applicants had to present a seven-minute slide show and undergo a 20-30 minute interview by a panel of six judges. Having made it to the top 20 last year, Knapp knew he had to give it all this year.
“At the end of my junior year, I looked at my goals,” he said. “When you set goals, you want to meet them.”
When Knapp found out he was one of the two honored with Hall of Fame induction, he kept the news a secret from his family and friends until his acceptance speech at Honor Night.
“My mom and dad (Janet and Darrell) told me they were proud of me,” he said. “They were real ecstatic.”
Most people think of stock shows when it comes to 4-H, however, Knapp is considered a non-traditional member. He became involved in his project area of shooting sports at the age of 10.
By age 12, Knapp started to become involved in leadership aspects of 4-H as well. He was 15 when he won first place at state in his project area and he won again at 17.
“He took home the Advance Achievement Award last year,” said Davis. “After most seniors win that, they coast but Jeromy continued to step up.”
From a phone drive for Women’s Haven to recruiting and inspiring kids to get involved around not only Stephens County, but surrounding counties, Knapp kept busy his senior year. The extension office also named him the county 4-H liaison between the 4-H members and volunteers.
“In 4-H, I’ve learned how to manage my time, it’s a life skill and it was put to the test,” said Knapp. “I’ve learned that sometimes, 24 hours isn’t enough but you start over and try again.”
Knapp will begin his freshman year this fall at Oklahoma State University working toward a degree in chemical engineering.
“I’ll be using 4-H to be successful in whatever I want to do and right now, that’s chemical engineering,” said Knapp. “I want to make a difference in the world past college.”