UACES Facebook Arkansas 4-H members receive Congressional Award
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Sept. 30, 2022

Arkansas 4-H members receive Congressional Award

By Tracy Courage
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts:

  • Congressional Award is U.S. Congress’ highest youth award
  • Arkansas statewide ceremony held at Arkansas Governor’s Mansion
  • Martha Ray Sartor honored with Inspiration Award

(685 words)
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LITTLE ROCK — The Congressional Award is the highest honor the U.S. Congress bestows on youth civilians — and several Arkansas 4-H members are among the most recent recipients.

HONOREES — Arkansas 4-Hers receive the Congressional Medal on Sept. 24 in a statewide ceremony at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion.  UADA Photo/Tracy Courage

Twenty 4-H members were honored at a statewide ceremony at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion on Sept. 24, with special guests Gov. Asa Hutchinson, U.S. Representative French Hill and Rodney Slater, former U.S. transportation secretary who serves as vice chair of the Congressional Award Board.

A ceremony for Congressional Award gold medal recipients is held in Washington, D.C., where the award is presented by members of the Senate and House of Representatives. The Arkansas statewide ceremony honored all Arkansas youth who earned the award since the last ceremony in 2018. Arkansas 4-H members comprised a majority of the recipients, and several of them earned multiple medals and honors.

They include:

Arkansas County — Magon James
Benton County — Tayte Christensen, Faith Fritch, Madison Mitchell and Joshua Stettmeier
Independence County — Daniel Latus, Keylee Harris and Elsa Timbs
Saline County — Ellis Freel
Washington County — Janna Morse and Etana Morse

Arkansas County — Magon James
Independence County — Keylee Harris
Montgomery County — Katelyn Macejewski
Washington County — Janna Morse

Arkansas County — Magon James
Baxter County — Caitlyn King
Independence County — Sydney Blackman and Madison Ireland
Montgomery County — Sawyer Beggs, Baylie Clay, Peyton Macejewski and Opal Samons
Saline County — Ethan Keller

Participants earn bronze, silver and gold certificates and medals based on achievement in four areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and exploration or expedition. For the gold medal — the highest level — participants complete a minimum of 400 hours of voluntary public service, 200 hours of personal development, 200 hours of physical fitness, and a five-day expedition or exploration.

“This program is all about seeing something in your mind’s eye and working to make it real and having mentors and family to help you do just that,” Slater said.

Martha Ray Sartor, former associate vice president for 4-H Development with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, received the 2022 Inspiration Award for her work as a Congressional Award advisor. With her leadership, more than 24 youth have achieved the Congressional Medal.

Joshua Stettmeier of Benton County earned a gold medal with 413 hours of public service collecting and distributing bikes, mentoring younger children, handling lawncare for elderly neighbors, and delivering food to families with food insecurity. 


 “I have developed the dedication and discipline to not only establish goals, but to record the results, and see them to completion,” he said. “It has given me confidence and perseverance to serve as a team player through community service and commitment to others.”

Madison Mitchell of Hiwasse worked 418 hours delivering meals to homebound individuals, visiting nursing homes, donating baked goods for fundraisers, and helping families prepare for disasters as part of her gold medal activities.

“By participating in the Congressional Award Program, I have learned the importance of record keeping and goal setting. Through goal setting, I see that no matter how large the end result may be, one can work at it for a given period of time and achieve anything you set your mind to. Most importantly, I have learned that there are opportunities every day to serve others in my community.”

Keeping a 4-H record book, which requires youth to keep detailed records of their project activities, community service and leadership activities, helped many of the recipients.

“The recordkeeping for the Congressional Award was easy because of 4-H,” said Janna Morse of Washington County, a freshman global studies major at the University of Arkansas. One of the highlights of working toward the Congressional Award, she said, was the exploration requirement. Morse planned and completed a 10-day trip to Iceland.

Her sister, Etana Morse, 16, also received the gold medal and was recognized as a STEM Star for the 200 hours of personal development she spent learning about the automotive industry by working at a Fayetteville car dealership.

More information about the Congressional Awards is available at

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
Director of Communications-Extension
U of A System Division of Agriculture