Students still love challenge of 4-H

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 14, 2002

Once a month, 10-year-old La’Shauncy Brewer and her classmates get fidgety anticipating the arrival of their monthly visitor.

The first Thursday of each month, Edward Johnston appears and takes over Goldston’s domain.

For nine years, Johnston, a 4-H county extension agent, has brought to children in Selma and Dallas County the themes which are the backbone of the organization &045;&045; head, heart, hands, health.

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Ask why he does what he’s doing, and Johnston doesn’t hesitate. &uot;To make a difference. To be a fork in the road for troubled kids,&uot; he said.

He talks of the days he was a school boy and what it took to get him geared towards becoming a well-rounded, civil-minded citizen.

When Johnston asked Goldston to allow him to set-up shop in the classroom one day out of the month, approval was practically immediate.

Said Goldston, &uot;He’s done an excellent job in presenting a new lesson each visit.&uot; He added that the students look forward to Mr. Johnston’s visits, and in times when there is a schedule change, they &uot;worry me until the time is made up.&uot;

This month’s visit, 4-H club elected officials began conducting their meetings just like they would during a legislative session.

Proceeding, was the lesson for the day. In light of Halloween, they learned about bats, which Terrell Chaney, 10, found interesting and La’Shancy was afraid of.

After learning about the nocturnal creatures, La’Shancy was a bit less apprehensive.

But it’s the way that Johnston presents his lessons that has kept the children’s interest, Terrell said, &uot;He makes jokes and at the same time teaches us.&uot;

This year marks the 100th year that 4-H has helped to mold youth in this state and around the nation to grow into resourceful citizens and responsible leaders, Johnston said.

Approximately 1,000 students in the two school systems get a chance to interact with Johnston on everything from learning how to build a bird house to mastering parliamentary procedures.

The organization, which is recognized by the familiar four-leaf clover symbol, embodies a curriculum that is geared towards enhancing the overall educational experience for youths in kindergarten through 12th grade.