Younger Generation: Celebrating the achievements of young adults in East Central Illinois

Younger Generation: Celebrating the achievements of young adults in East Central Illinois

Student of the month

The Exchange Club of Urbana named Urbana High School student Sophie Diers as the February Youth of the Month.

Sophie is president of the Key Club at Urbana High School. She is also president and co-founder of the Spanish Club. In addition, she is involved in the Habitat Club, Interact Club, National Honor Society, is a C-U Scholar, a Varsity Letter Club member and is a participant in the Executive Internship Program at the school. Outside of school, Sophie has been involved in Habitat for Humanity, spending a week in Mississippi helping build a house and working in a local school.

The Exchange Club of Urbana recognizes a student each month during the school year from whom a Youth of the Year will be named. The objective of the Youth of the Month/Year Awards is to give public recognition to high school aged youth that display superior qualities of leadership, scholarship, athletic ability and industry. The local Youth of the Year can compete for the Lincolnland District Exchange Club's District Youth of the Year.

WYSE challenge

The regional Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering Academic Challenge was recently held at Lake Land College and 24 schools, registering 385 students, came together to battle in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering graphics, English, mathematics and physics

Teams advancing for the 700 division were St. Anthony High School (463.4), first; and Sullivan High School (460.8), second.

Area individuals advancing to the WYSE sectionals, which are to be held March 10 at Eastern Illinois University, include:

— In the Division 300 Physics competition Jordan Rettig of Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond High School.

— In the Division 700 Bio-Science division, both Ryan Baker and Max Todd of Sullivan High School. Baker also advanced in the Chemistry Divison.

— In the engineering graphics division, Sullivan's Ross Metzger and Emily Stutzman advanced in the English Division.

Poetry contest

The Eastern Illinois regional contest for Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest was held in February at the Champaign Public Library.

The regional runner-up is Joshua Harris from Champaign Central High School, who recited "The Ocean" by Nathaniel Hawthorne and "Numbers" by Mary Cornish, and the regional champion is Shireen Hassan, also from Champaign Central High School, who recited "Envy" by Mary Lamb and "Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou. The competition, presented in partnership with the Illinois Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

Eight high school students from four area high schools participated in the contest.

The students recited works they selected from an anthology of more than 650 classic and contemporary poems. Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, level of difficulty, and accuracy.

The two regional winners advanced to the Illinois state contest in Springfield. Each champion at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national championship on May 2-4. The school of the state champion will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books.

Tuscola superstars

The Douglas County Spelling Bee champion and runner-up positions were earned by two Tuscola East Prairie Middle School students: sixth-grader Vicky Wells and fifth-grader Makenzie Herschberger. The Douglas County Spelling Bee was held on Feb. 23. The regional bee will be held at Decatur's Eisenhower High School on Saturday.

Home cooking

The third annual Illinois 4-H Food Challenge took place on March 1 at the Fluid Event Center in Champaign. Twelve teams of 4-H members from Champaign, DeWitt, Piatt and Vermilion counties were given chicken breast, spinach, roma tomato, mozzarella cheese and 40 minutes to make a dish that would impress judges on taste and appearance.

Similar to the TV show "Chopped," the 4-H Food Challenge encourages participants to utilize creativity in cooking while employing food safety and preparation.

After preparing their dishes, teams were tasked with giving a 10-minute presentation to a panel of judges about how they made their dish using proper food safety techniques, as well as the cost of a serving.

Nine 4-H members from Urbana participated in this year's event.

These youths include Alyssa Cunningham, Laterrica Henderson, Christine Williams and Essence Winfield of the Blue Tigers and Abby Boose, Tamara Henderson, Ryan McPike, Myracle Warren and Michelle Williams of the Orange and Pink Tigers.

The Blue Tigers were awarded with the certificate for Best Teamwork, while the Orange and Pink Tigers received the award for Most Enthusiastic Team.

RebekahZanelli and NateHoskinson, both of Champaign, also participated in the event.

Proficient students

Six members of the Oakwood FFA Chapter competed in the District IV proficiency interviews on March 9: Kamron Jackson of Danville in beef production placement, Kira Conklin of Oakwood in equine production placement, Josh Bartlow of Oakwood in landscape management, Allyson Reed of Oakwood in outdoor recreation, Clayton Walker of Oakwood in poultry production and Kheagyn Gritten of Muncie in safety.

All six FFA members were previously selected as the Oakwood FFA Chapter and Section 18 FFA winners in their proficiency area.

Allyson Reed and Kheagyn Gritten were selected, by a committee of agriculture industry representatives and teachers, as District FFA proficiency winners.

Reed is the daughter of KristalReed from Oakwood and the late Jason Reed. Gritten is the son of Nicole Powell and William Gritten of Oakwood.

The pair are now eligible to compete in the State FFA Awards selection process at the University of Illinois on April 2.

Young leaders

Nearly 100 seventh- and eighth-grade youths learned ways to improve their leadership skills at the 2016 "Wild About Leadership" 4-H Junior Leadership Conference on Feb. 27-28 at the Hawthorne Suites in Champaign.

Ford County youths attending the conference included three members of the Town and Countyr Helpers 4-H Club of Roberts: Dalton Busboom, Spencer Meenen and Skyler Niemann. The three gained practical ways to improve their lives and leadership skills, which they will take back to their clubs.

During the conference, they learned to "P.O.P." to their fullest potential by networking with "people," finding "opportunities" to improve skills, and believing in future "possibilities." The overnight conference put "P.O.P." into action with team building activities.

The trio also learned of 4-H opportunities where they could further refine the skills necessary for successful careers.

A portion of the conference expenses was covered by the Illinois 4-H Foundation and Ford-Iroquois 4-H Foundation, which raises private funds to support the Illinois 4-H program. Additional sponsors included Baum Chevrolet Buick, Caterpillar Inc.; Farm Credit Illinois; GRAINCO FS, Inc.; GROWMARK; IAA Credit Union; Illinois Ag Resource Council; Kingery Printing; Rader Family Farms; and Woodman's Markets.

Ice time

Four area players helped the Bloomington Thunder to the Northern Illinois Hockey League Midget Major AA Elite U18 championship and the league's President's Trophy.

The team defeated the Orland Park Vikings 2-1 in Joliet, with Mahomet-Seymour junior Max Proctor being named championship MVP.

Christian Rogger, a senior at Danville High, Grant Thurman, a junor at Centennial and St. Thomas More sophomore J.P. Ridge were also major contributors to the team's success.

The Thunder lead their division with a 19-1-1 record to earn a spot in the championship.

Club wrestling

Two area wrestlers won titles at last weekend's IKWF State Championships: Dalton Hall, who competes for the Champaign Wrestling Club at 147 pounds in the senior division; and Hayden Copass of the Storm Wrestling Club based in Catlin, at 215 pounds in the novice division.

Others placing in the event were: Champaign Wrestling Club — Brac Hooper (6th), Carter Hall (6th) and Logan Wilson (3rd).

Saber Wrestling Club' — John Sexton (8th).

Urbana Tiger Wrestling Club — Rashon Allen (8th).

Unity Wrestling Club — Pate Eastin (3rd).

Storm Wrestling Club — Camren Stinespring (8th).

Prairie Central Hawks Wrestling Club — Brandon Hoselton (3rd).

Danville Chargers Wrestling Club — Laron Reed (6th).

Hoopeston Area Wrestling Club — Abel Colunga (5th).

Mahomet's Clayton Bell won fifth place at the IWCOA Freshman/Sophomore State Tournament in Springfield. Clayton went 6-2 for the tournament. Wyatt Heimann also qualified for the state tournament but did not place.

The event was held at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield.

Bash brothers

While most kids are spending the winter as an off-season from baseball, the Miller brothers were honing their skills.

Jaden Miller, an eighth-grader at St. Joseph, participated in the Disney New Year's Baseball Classic tournament in Orlando, Fla. Playing with the Game Day USA all-star team, which is made up of players from the upper Midwest, Jaden and his team defeated the New Era New York All-Stars 10-0 for the tournament championship.

Earlier in the offseason, younger brother Coby Miller showed off his power in the Game Day USA All-American Baseball Games in Sarasota, Fla.

Coby, a sixth-grader at St. Joseph, led the tournament-winning team with 2 home runs and a batting average of .833, while earning a spot on the 12-and-under all-tournament team.

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