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Several Pike 4-H students recently attended the 4-H Teen Leadership Conference at the University of Kentucky. Those pictured and their high schools are as follows: Cassie Roberts, Maya Stiles, Shelby Valley; Ana Ali, Pikeville; Tayen Smith, Phelps; Kiersten Dotson, Belfry; Katie Thacker, Pike Central; Emmaline Potter, East Ridge; Angel Tackett, Morgan Coleman, Emily Musick, Paislee Blevins and Alyssa Ridler of Shelby Valley; Evan Ratliff of Pikeville;and Zack Newman, Pike Central Alum.

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Evan Ratliff was recently selected for the Kentucky 4-H State Teen Council. A student at Pikeville High, he was inducted during the 4-H Teen Conference held at the University of Kentucky.

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Pike County 4-H student Kiersten Dotson was recognized with the 4-H Gold Achievement Award at the Kentucky 4-H Teen Conference held on the campus of the University of Kentucky.

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Emily Musick was recently selected for the Kentucky 4-H State Teen Council. She was inducted during the 4-H Teen Conference held at the University of Kentucky.

“You can’t stuff a great life into a small dream.”-H. Jackson Brown.

The Pike County 4-H Council gave 14 4-H Teens an opportunity to explore a place where dreams are made through Kentucky 4-H Teen Conference. Seven hundred teens gathered at the University of Kentucky for this youth leadership program. The theme for the conference was “Leadership & Citizenship #redefineky4h”.  Dynamic speakers, career-oriented workshops and fun activities made for a great week of learning during this annual conference.

4-H Teen Leaders from all of the Pike County and Pikeville High Schools made up this group of aspiring leaders.  Those attending and their high schools are as follows: Anaya Ali and Evan Ratliff of Pikeville, Paislee Blevins, Morgan Coleman, Emily Musick, Allyssa Ridler, Cassie Roberts, and Maya Stiles, Angel Tackett of Shelby Valley, Kierston Dotson of Belfry, Katie Thacker and Zack Newman of Pike Central, Emmaline Potter of East Ridge, and Tayen Smith of Phelps.  

One of the big dream for 4-H youth is to reach the “Gold” in the Kentucky 4-H Achievement Record and Pike County’s very own, Kiersten Dotson won the 4-H Gold Award. Winning this earned her $250 for the 4-H Teen Conference and a trip to National 4-H Club Congress in Atlanta, Georgia.  

Kiersten will be traveling to this conference with 4-H members from all over the country in November.

“My life will never be the same because of the many wonderful things that I got to experience through 4-H,” she said. “I’ll give back to my community and 4-H by taking the team building skills and all the incredible life skills that I gain.”  

This Belfry High School 4-H member has attained a lot of championships through 4-H participation. She was a county champion in woodworking, photography and upcycling projects. At the Kentucky State Fair, Kiersten competed in the 4-H State poultry Contest for four years and represented our commonwealth during the National Livestock Show in Louisville.  

She also won the State 4-H Avian Bowl scoring 2nd place. She summarized her 4-H experience in these words, “Winning the State (4-H) Poultry Judging Contest, it made me realize that I can achieve my dreams.”

Two Pike County youth achieved recognition by being selected to represent District One on the Kentucky 4-H State Teen Council.

At this event, Emily Musick of Shelby Valley and Evan Ratliff of Pikeville High were named to this state leadership council.  Both had to go through interviews and realized a dream when they obtained this positions starting this fall.  Both Emily and Evan were recognized at this event as incoming leaders.  

Emily is a seven-year 4-H member, as well as president of the Pike County 4-H Teen Club.   

She won the 4-H Silver Achievement Award and stated, “My most outstanding 4-H experience has been my trip to the Kentucky State Fair.  …the experience is amazing. I got to travel and room with people of the same interest, since they compete in the same categories. I got to explore the fairgrounds with friends in my 4-H and get closer to them. I made memories that will last a lifetime.”  

Evan, a six-year 4-H member and a Bronze 4-H Achievement Winner, commented, “Don’t be scared to give your input in life. My goal in life is to become a pediatrician and go to the University of Kentucky.”

Other members receiving recognition for their 4-H Achievement are as follows: Cassie Roberts, Alyssa Ridler, and Angel Tackett received the Bronze 4-H Achievement Award;  Kiera Lovel, Katie Thacker, Ciara Kilgore and Emmaline Potter received the Clover Level 4 Award.

Two other teens attending the conference had this to say, “Don’t live to other expectations of you just be you.  The personality things we do there taught me that I can accept me for me,” said Cassie Roberts, whose goal is to be a lawyer.

“Attendance at the 4-H Teen Conference helped me network with other teens with similar interests and cultural backgrounds. Both of which can be hard in East Kentucky,” said Maya Stiles.

For more information on this and other 4-H programs, contact the Pike County Extension Office at, (606) 432-2534, or at, nfroman@uky.edu.  

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creek, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

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