Mountain Grove’s Ramona Andrus is the recipient of the 4-H Frank Graham Leadership Award from the University of Missouri and the first and only recipient in Wright County history to receive this honor.
Ramona has been a 4-H volunteer for 35 years and has a 4-H school program at the Mountain Grove Middle School.
She is a testament to all things agriculture and genuinely cares about her students. She embodies the 4-H motto, making the best better, as she not only goes above and beyond to serve her students, but is always willing to help out with local events like judging camps and quality assurance training.
Wright County 4-H has been very lucky to have Ramona play such a pivotal role in 4-H in the county.
More on Andrus and her plans to retire
Andrus said her career started in 1986 as a co-leader with the Cabool Livestock 4-H.
“I grew up in 4-H and my leader, Kathy Smith, was a great influence in my life,” she said. “She spent many hours hauling us to events, meetings and ceremonies. Her motto was “there’s always room to learn one more thing.”
Andrus continued as a 4-H Leader, forming the Mountain Grove Middle School District’s 4-H Club in 2002. She said an average of 65 students are enrolled each year, with the high end reaching 78 in one year.
“I’ve had the privilege of watching hundreds of students go through my program,” she added. “Those students have gone on to become leaders in our community, teachers, college graduates, welders, farmers, mechanics, fathers, mothers and successful businessmen. I’m so very proud of all them.”
Andrus said her students, through the years, have won numerous 4-H livestock, horse and dairy judging team and individual awards.
“Our 4-H Club has had a student on the State 4-H Dairy Judging Team that has represented Missouri at the World Dairy Expo and other national contests numerous times,” she added. “Some of those even qualified to judge internationally. Of course, being an Ag teacher, I concentrate on judging a lot, but it is up to the member if they want to or not. Last May, we hosted the first annual Livestock Judging Invitational Tour, inviting students from several other counties to participate. We had over 60 students judge in that event. We gave out Belt Buckles for the Champion and Reserve Champion judges in beef cattle, hogs, sheep and meat goats.”
Andrus added that her club has also held a cake decorating demonstration, holiday game and pizza nights for the past several years, participated in the Homecoming Parade, held 4-H week activities and were even on the television show, “From the Tailgate” last year during 4-H week.
Though Andrus has announced that she is officially retiring at the end of the school year to focus on being a grandma, she did say she intends to make sure the kids continue to have a 4-H club in whatever capacity that involves.
“I grew up in 4-H, my children grew up in 4-H and now my grandkids are growing up in 4-H,” Andrus said. “I don’t know of another youth organization that allows youth the opportunity to become well rounded members of society. It teaches perseverance, responsibility, reward, work ethic, success, failure and self worth. My club allows students in the elementary school that are 8-years-old to join as well as fifth through eighth graders in the middle school and high school students up to 18 years of age. I also have some homeschool students that have joined.”
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