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New officers take lead for New Mexico 4-H

The New Mexico 4-H program has seven new state officers as a result of the election that took place during the 83rd annual State 4-H Conference held July 10-14 at New Mexico State University.

Recently elected 4-H officers for 2006-2007 include, front row: April Corazzi, Jamie Thomas, Kelcie Orphey and Jennifer Driskell. In the top row are Mindy Turner, Phillip Zuni, Austin Graham and Jett Sharp. (NMSU photo by Victor Espinoza)

6-2007 officers are Phillip Zuni, president; Jett Sharp, vice president; Kelcie Orphey, secretary; Jamie Thomas, treasurer; April Corazzi, reporter; Jennifer Driskell, parliamentarian; and Austin Graham, song and recreation leader. Mindy Turner will serve as the adviser to the team.

Zuni, of Socorro, has been a 4-H member for nine years. Throughout his 4-H career he has participated in the swine project, beef production, leadership and citizenship. Zuni will be a freshman at NMSU in the fall. His parents are Marty Ray and Rolinda Rosales, and Harold and Holly Zuni.

Sharp, of Estancia, has had an eight-year-long 4-H career. Sharp is a member of the Tumbleweed 4-H Club in Torrance County and his 4-H involvement includes market steers, replacement dairy heifers, market swine and the pellet rifle project. He is the son of Cyle and Sharla Sharp.

Orphey, of Animas, has been enrolled in the 4-H program for nine years. She is an active member in the Cotton City 4-H Club and has served on various committees for the club and the county. Orphey will be a senior at Animas High School in the fall and is the daughter of Mike and Bobbie Orphey.

Thomas, of Moriarty, has been involved with the 4-H program for eight years, during which she has participated in such projects as braiding, rodeo and leadership. This will be her second time serving on the state leadership team as she enters her senior year at Moriarty High School. Thomas is the daughter of Albert and Lisa Thomas.

Corazzi, of Roswell, has held a six-year 4-H membership. Over the years she has served in club and county leadership positions. Corazzi will be a high school senior in the fall and is the daughter of Lonnie and Amy Owens.

Driskell, of Los Lunas, has seven years of active 4-H experience as a member of the Bosque Farms 4-H Club. Throughout her career Driskell has participated in sewing and leadership projects and volunteerism. Driskell's parents are Jamie and Carmen Driskell.

Graham, of Clovis, is a seven-year 4-H member in Curry County. Actively involved in the New Horizons 4-H Club, he has participated in horse, public speaking and leadership projects throughout the years. Graham is the son of Monte and Tammy Graham.

Turner is the Cooperative Extension Service 4-H youth development specialist for NMSU. She has been with the Extension service for a total of 10 years, serving in both Texas and New Mexico. Turner was a county Extension agent for Otero County prior to becoming a state specialist. Turner said she is excited about working with the team this year and, together, striving for excellence.

During their one-year term the new officers will be responsible for various promotional events for the 4-H program. According to 4-H activities specialist Amy Zemler, the council will plan a promotional booth and float for the state fair, assist with the livestock shows and the McDonald's farm at the state fair and attend etiquette training and a national conference. Two big events they must plan and implement include the 2007 Teen Get-Away and the 2007 State 4-H Conference.

"They will also attend various planning meetings throughout the year as well as present various workshops and assist with county activities as requested," said Zemler.

The retiring state officers are Russell Hendricks, president; Ben Randle, vice president; Raynee Ward, secretary; Marshall Wilson, treasurer; Leticia Varelas, reporter; Chanz Robbins, parliamentarian; and Carol Lange, song and recreation leader. The adviser to the 2005-2006 leaders was Catherine (Cat) Kuchan, former Colfax County Extension 4-H agent.

The 4-H Youth Development Program was implemented in1902 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to introduce improved methods of farming and homemaking throughout the country. Today it is the largest youth organization in the world with approximately 7 million members in America alone and programs in 80 additional countries. There are more than 75,000 members in New Mexico assisted by 11,000 adult volunteers. Programs include an array of life skills education from family living to animal science, leadership and the arts.