UACES Facebook Washington County teens wins Arkansas 4-H Governor’s Award
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Washington County teens wins Arkansas 4-H Governor’s Award

Janna Morse, a member of Washington County 4-H, has excelled in her food and nutrition project with a focus on combating food insecurity and hunger.

July 28, 2022

By Tracy Courage
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts:

  • Janna Morse of West Fork receives Arkansas 4-H highest honor
  • Recipient to pursue international and global studies at the University of Arkansas
  • Magon James of Arkansas County, Ethan Wolcott of Sevier County honored as finalists

(794 words)
(Newsrooms: With photo of winner at; Awards of

Excellence photo album, 4-H O-Rama photos, ‘Magon’ is CQ throughout)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.  — Janna Morse’s service to others took root in Washington County more than a decade ago and has since expanded far beyond Arkansas’ borders. On Wednesday, the West Fork teen received the 2022 Arkansas 4-H Governor’s Award, the highest honor an Arkansas 4-H member can receive.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Morse, 18, as the winner on July 27 in a recorded message played during the Arkansas 4-H Awards of Excellence ceremony at the University of Arkansas, where more than 300 4-H members from across the state are competing in statewide events.

Division of Ag, 4-H Foundation officials flank governor's Award winner

GOVERNOR'S AWARD — Janna Morse, center in white jacket, was named the 2022 Arkansas Governors' Award winner in a ceremony July 27, 2022, in Fayetteville. The award is highest given in the Arkansas 4-H program. From left to right: John Thomas, managing director of the Arkansas 4-H Foundation, Deacue Fields, vice president of agriculture for the UA System; Darlene Millard, 4-H Foundation Board member; Morse; Angie Freel, director of Arkansas 4-H; and Bob Scott, head of the Cooperative Extension Service. (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo by Ryan McGeeney)

Magon James, 17, of Arkansas County, and Ethan Wolcott of Sevier County also were finalists for the Governor’s Award.

“This award is given to the individual who best embodies the 4-H spirit,” Hutchinson said. “The three finalists have shown a drive for success, and today we honor them. I’m proud of all three for their commitment to 4-H and their representation of our state.”

The Governor’s Award, started in 1983, is available to former state 4-H record book winners. Applicants are judged based on their project record books, their application and an interview.

Morse, a member of Washington County 4-H, has excelled in her food and nutrition project with a focus on combating food insecurity and hunger. She has represented Arkansas 4-H at the 4-H Healthy Habits Conference and the National 4-H Healthy Living Summit, both in Washington, D.C., as well as at National 4-H Congress in Atlanta.

A self-described “shy child,” Morse said 4-H has taught her to step outside her comfort zone.

“4-H has given me a foundation of confidence and made me an avid goal-setter,” she said.

In Washington County, Morse has shared her diverse American, Asian and Hispanic heritage through food. When the Fayetteville-based M & N Augustine Foundation had to cancel its international food fundraiser due to COVID-19, Morse marketed Eastern cuisines, helping the nonprofit exceed its fundraising goal. She continues to work with the nonprofit, which assists people affected by catastrophic loss.

Morse also created a teen community service group that raised $600 for the Salvation Army, packed 180 meals for the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank, and gathered and distributed feminine products to 100 local women in need. 

Morse’s work extends well beyond Arkansas wherever she sees a need. After Sri Lanka experienced its deadliest day of terrorism with a series of bombings on Easter 2019, Morse organized a wound care supply drive that collected 70 pounds of medical supplies that were sent to Sri Lanka’s National Hospital. Her service group also sent supplies to a rural school in Sri Lanka and made puppets for children in Honduras.

This fall, Morse will attend the University of Arkansas to study international and global relations, with an emphasis on peace, security and human rights. One day, she said she hopes to have a career as a foreign service officer. Her parents are James Morse and Palika Dias-Morse.

Morse received a $3,000 scholarship, an engraved silver tray, and her name will be added to a plaque on permanent display at the C. A. Vines Arkansas 4-H Center. The other finalists each received a $1,000 scholarship and an engraved silver bowl. Both are longtime 4-H member with extensive achievements.

Magon James

Magon James, 18, of Arkansas County showed livestock at the county, district and state levels before switching her project to fashion. She competes in national scholarship pageants and modifies clothing to create one-of-a kind designs. Earlier this year, she was selected to be a runway model at New York Fashion Week to model CharJean Couture. Through her project, she learned to sew and design and has made numerous dolls, pillows and other items for hospital and nursing home patients.

While fashion is her main project, James remains passionate about animals and volunteers with Passionate Paws, a nonprofit that helps abandoned animals. She plans to attend veterinary school and one day have her own veterinary practice with a rescue center for cats and dogs.

Ethan Wolcott

Ethan Wolcott, 18, Sevier County, has been a 4-H member for nine years. He initially had a livestock project but switched his project to leadership and community service, which quickly became his passion — so much that he started the Sevier County Community Changers 4-H Club, which focuses on community service. Wolcott is the club president and looks for ways to serve. Last year, he raised money to buy fans for Sevier County residents without air-conditioning. He’s also organized Santa for Seniors and been involved with numerous food drives, disaster relief and clothing drives.

4-H is the premier youth development program of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. Programs are offered in every county in Arkansas. To learn more about 4-H, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact: Tracy Courage              501-658-2044