Top Moments from 10 Years of the 4-H Legacy Awards

By National 4-H Council March 08, 2019

In honor of the 10th Anniversary 4-H Legacy Awards, we are excited to share our favorite 4-H Legacy Awards moments through the years. We look forward to creating many more special memories in the years to come!

1. Jennifer Nettles and Callista Clark, 2016 Legacy Awards

At just 12 years old, Callista Clark demonstrated the skills and courage she learned in 4-H by performing a duet with Grammy Award winner, singer and songwriter (and 4-H alum) Jennifer Nettles at the 2016 Legacy Awards. Both the Georgia natives began their careers in the 4-H & Company performing arts group, which has launched the careers of many renowned performers.

2. Samantha Jo Ridley, 2010 Youth in Action Winner

The 2010 4-H Youth in Action Award, the first of its kind, was presented to 4-H’er Samantha Jo Ridley, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota, who was the first in her tribe to attend college. Through 4-H, Ridley has helped her community in many ways, including using her involvement in archery to bring the tradition back to her tribe. Ridley went on to earn a B.S. in Biology, and is currently working towards achieving her dream of becoming a neuroscientist.

3. Jennifer Nettles and Carla Hall, 2012 Legacy Awards

Jennifer Nettles, the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Medallion winner, credits 4-H with providing her with invaluable life skills as well as performing skills, which she still uses to this day. Thanks to the depth of diversity in 4-H, as well as the vast amount of choices available to young 4-H’ers, Nettles believes that the “sky’s the limit!”

Carla Hall, a renowned chef, ‘The Chew’ co-host and author, reprises her role as emcee of the Legacy Awards this year, having made a great impression in 2012 at the 3rd Annual 4-H Legacy Awards in New York.

4. Youth in Action Award Winners

All of our previous Youth in Action award winners have made a substantial impact on their communities, whether it’s in STEM (Cassandra Ivie), Civic Engagement (Amelia Day, Elisabeth Willis, Samantha Jo Ridley), Healthy Living (Nosa Akol, Andres Parra, Morgan Billingslea-Walker) or Agriculture (Nate Seese).

These incredible young people credit 4-H with giving them the opportunity and skills to go out into their communities and make a meaningful difference in the lives of those around them.

One such winner was Ru Ekanayake, who was honored as the 2016 Youth in Action Award Winner, thanks to her passion for Healthy Living.

5. Aubrey Plaza and Tino Bernadett, 2017 Distinguished Alumni Medallion Awardees

Dr. Faustino “Tino” Bernadett began his working life selling eggs door to door from his red wagon in Chico, California, before going on to become a leader in both the practice and business of medicine. In an effort to reduce disparities in access to education and health, Bernadett co-founded the Molina Foundation in 2004, which partners with 4-H and Cooperative Extension to distribute millions of free books to children around the country.

Aubrey Plaza is an award-winning actress and producer, who proudly pays forward what she learned in 4-H. As the 4-H Service Ambassador, Plaza encourages young people to get involved and give back to their communities. For her part, Plaza works with the Wilmington Drama League to promote community theater and arts programs in Delaware, and as evidenced in an interview with Stephen Colbert, she can still recite the pledge from heart!

6. Craig Melvin, 2016 Distinguished Alumni Medallion Honoree

Craig Melvin is an award-winning journalist, national correspondent and South Carolina 4-H alum, who currently co-anchors The Today Show on NBC. Melvin was involved in several 4-H public speaking programs as a middle schooler, but it was a 4-H television project in which he covered an election night that led him to his chosen career path. Melvin also credits 4-H with teaching him compassion and empathy, which he demonstrated to good effect in his Day in the Life video with John Gabalski, a 15-year old New York 4-H’er.

7. Legacy Awards Performers

From Samyra Miller’s stirring acapella rendition of the National Anthem to the 4-H and Company performance with Jennifer Nettles of her hit song, Stand Up, our talented young 4-H’ers have provided us with many inspiring moments over the years.

A New Orleans native, Samyra Miller was President of her high school 4-H club, a junior leader in her parish and President of the Louisiana 4-H State Performing Arts Board. In her spare time, Miller was also the first girl to play on her school’s varsity football team.

8. 4‑H Alumni

The Legacy Awards wouldn’t be the same without our extraordinary 4-H alumni. A select few are not only honored with Alumni Medallion Awards and inducted into the 4-H Luminaries each year, but also emcee the evening, perform, act as auctioneers and host the green carpet.

Previous Alumni Medallion Award winners have included Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the Atlanta Hawks’ Kent Bazemore. Distinguished alumni have included Facebook Executive Andrew Bosworth and Jill Soltau, CEO of JCPenney, who have been welcomed as 4‑H Luminaries.

Emcees have included top chefs Lazarus Lynch, Anne Burrell and Carla Hall; the VP of Public Affairs for UPS, Nikki Clifton; legal commentator and TV journalist, Nancy Grace; and award-winning journalist and author, Nancy Redd.

If you’re ready to help us continue to support exceptional youth across the nation, consider donating $10 in honor of the 10th Anniversary 4‑H Legacy Awards! Your support will help kids learn by doing, grow from failure and develop the skills they need to handle what life throws their way.

Related articles

2023 – Celebrating A Year Of Opportunity, Innovation And Partnership

By National 4-H Council January 2, 2024

National 4-H Council Names 2024 Youth In Action Award Winners

By National 4-H Council October 2, 2023

Igniting Young Minds: 4-H Teams Up with Netflix to Elevate Learning through CLOVER by 4-H

By Ivan Heredia, Chief Marketing Officer, National 4-H Council September 22, 2023

Embracing a Digital Transformation of 4-H: CLOVER by 4-H Expands Opportunities for America’s Youth

By Jill Bramble, President & CEO, National 4-H Council September 13, 2023