Jill Wiltz, of Natchitoches Parish, was elected president. Other officers elected during 4-H University are vice president Brittney Lea, of Bienville Parish; secretary Taylor Goss, of Calcasieu Parish; historian and reporter Stanley Celestine Jr., of Avoyelles Parish; and parliamentarian Patrick Cormier, of Acadia Parish.
Wiltz, a rising senior at Natchitoches Central High School, has been a member of 4-H for eight years. She most recently served as state vice president and previously has been a national conference delegate and a member of state leadership boards.
Becoming 4-H president is a goal Wiltz has worked toward for years.
“When I was in seventh grade at my very first 4-H University, I looked on the stage and they were introducing officers,” she said. “I turned to my agent and I was like, ‘That’s going to be me. I want to do that.’”
As president, Wiltz wants to incorporate 4-H’s new national “Grow True Leaders” and “4-H Grows Here” campaigns into more activities in Louisiana. The theme underscores the importance of updating the 4-H image to reflect the many different facets of the organization, which help students develop leadership skills and prepare them for a wide variety of careers, she said.
Wiltz said skills she’s learned in 4-H, like public speaking and appreciating people’s diversity, will serve her well in the future. 4-H helps its members gain confidence and learn from their mistakes — an experience Wiltz said she believes is important for young people.
“In my 4-H career, I haven’t won every contest I’ve been in,” she said. “In that, you learn that this is where I can work harder, and this is where I can try again.”
Wiltz plans to attend Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to study theology. She hopes to become a minister, author and teacher.