During the third week of March, 4-H students from across the state gathered in Murfreesboro to celebrate the successes and achievements of the previous year. Since its beginning in 1948, Congress has given nearly 40,000 4-H’ers and volunteer leaders the opportunity to experience state government firsthand.

Tennessee 4-H Congress is an activity that supports the citizenship project and helps 4-H’ers to foster and develop lifelong citizenship habits. Activities throughout the week included a visit to the Tennessee State Capitol, a trip on the General Jackson Showboat and interactions with state legislators. In addition to experiencing life at the state capital, students learned about civic engagement, including things such as state government, service to others and the election process.

The highlight of the week was the Citizenship Banquet, in which students were awarded for their outstanding achievements. The winners announced at the 71st Annual Tennessee 4-H Congress are as follows.


Level I – Jordan Bowling, Anderson County

Jordan Bowling is a sophomore at Anderson County High School and has been a 4-H member since 4th grade.  Her main 4-H project has been Line and Design, earning state honors in this project in 2017.  Line & Design has provided her with many opportunities to utilize her creativity.  She has served as a 4-H project group leader, sharing her love of sewing with younger youth at various 4-H camps and workshops.

Jordan has also been active in the Nutrition, Health and Fitness project.  She is currently serving as a Healthy Living Ambassador and served as the June Dairy Month Chairman for Anderson County for two years, earning state honors for her promotional and educational efforts.

Leadership is a big part of her 4-H involvement.  Jordan was recently elected to serve as Scribe for the Eastern Region All Stars.  In her role as a County 4-H Ambassador, she has promoted 4-H at events such as the County Fair, Farm Day and Down at the Farm.  This past summer she helped children discover the exciting world of 4-H by serving as at teen leader at 4-H camp—a role that she plans on continuing this summer.

As an active 4-H’er, she is committed to “pledge my hands to larger service.”  Although she’s been involved in a wide range of service activities, she is often able to incorporate her love of Line and Design with service in projects such as knitting hats for Newborns in Need and making pictures for the Visually Impaired Program.

Level II – Olivia Browning, Sevier County

Olivia is active in the Homeschool 4-H Club where she has served as the Service Learning Chairman for the past 4 years. She is also very active in Sevier County Junior Master Gardener program and has served as a teen leader for the Junior Master Gardener Camp. In addition to being a member of the Sevier County Fair and the Keep Sevier Beautiful Youth Boards, Olivia is the recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for the past four years.

Olivia has achieved TN 4-H All Star and Honor Club Recognition, participated in Forestry and Wildlife Judging., and is a level I state winner in Forestry Wildlife and Fisheries and also the Gardening Project.

2018 Congress winners


Level I – Sorrell Martin, Lincoln County

Sorrell Martin is in the 10th grade at Cornersville High School and lives on a 600-acre family farm in Petersburg, where her family raises and shows Hereford cattle. Sorrell has grown up around 4-H her entire life as both of her parents and sisters were active members. Though her main project is communications, Sorrell has participated in the beef project, public speaking contest and was even a member of 4-H Congress. Last summer, she was chosen to be Reserve Grand Champion at the state show for her participation in the beef project.

Outside of 4-H, Sorrell competes on her school’s cross-country team and raises rabbits and shows them at county fairs throughout the fall. For the past eight years, Sorrell has been taking piano lessons and really enjoys playing. Her favorite part of 4-H is all of the learning experiences she’s had. Sorrell attributes 4-H to helping her learn responsibility, organization and time management skills.

Level II – Aaron Lay, Monroe County

Aaron Lay of Monroe County was selected as the Level II winner in the Leadership Project at Tennessee 4-H Congress in Murfreesboro.  Aaron is currently a 12th grade student at Sequoyah High School and lives on an organic dairy farm with his family in Madisonville.  His main project is Beef, as he shows his Registered Shorthorn cattle across the Southeast.  Aaron is presently serving as Vice President on the State 4-H Council, and is also the President of the Monroe County 4-H Honor Club. One of the many highlights of Aaron’s 4-H career was being part of the National winning livestock judging team at the Arizona National Livestock Show in 2014.  After graduating from high school, his future plans are to attend Tennessee Tech University and majoring in Agriculture Communications, with a minor in Pre-Law.

2018 Congress winners

Public Speaking

9th Grade – Jacinta Fritz, Tipton County

Jacinta Fritz is an active participant of the Homeschool 4-H Club, where she currently serves as president. The 9th grade student also participates in honor club and was recently initiated into the 4-H All Stars during the fall conference. Jacinta participates in Outdoor Meat Cookery, Consumer Decision Making and the Line and Design Project, among other activities.

As a leader for the Family Fiesta program, sponsored by Walmart Nutrition Education initiative, Jacinta has honed in on her leadership skills. Her enthusiasm, respectfulness and involvement to the 4-H program is contagious and encourages everyone around her.

10th Grade – Katherine Ann Thierfelder, Madison County

Serving as the current president for the Madison Mockingbirds Homeschool 4-H Club, a member of honor club and a 4-H All Star, Katherine Anne keeps herself very busy with a variety of 4-H activities. Katherine Anne’s main activity is the Horse Project and she recently won 1stplace at State in the Horse Bowl and 2nd in Hippology. In addition to her competition work, Katherine Anne volunteers each year at the annual 4-H Chicken Shack Fundraiser, held during the West TN State Fair.

Outside of 4-H, Katherine Anne is a leader in a variety of service projects and volunteers with many programs, including a mission trip to Africa last summer through her church, First Baptist in Jackson. While participating in Mock Trail, Katherine Anne’s team went to state and won the sportsmanship award. She was awarded the MVP of her team. Katherine Anne is a hard worker who always goes above and beyond to help others.

11th Grade – Hannah Freeland, Knox County

Hannah Freeland is an 11th grade homeschool student from Knox County. She participates and competes in a variety of projects, including Line and Design, Consumer Education and Economics and Public Speaking. Through 4-H, Hannah has had the opportunity to attend State 4-H Congress, State Roundup and the Western National Roundup in Denver, Co.

Outside of her 4-H involvement, Hannah takes private art lessons and has recently started to participate in both regional and national competitions. She is involved with Teen Pact Leadership School and currently serves as a travel staff member. Through Teen Pact, Hannah has had the opportunity to travel around the country as part of staff teams to teach students about their state government and student leadership in a fun, hands-on way. Hannah attributes the skills she has learned through 4-H to her successes in other endeavors.

12th Grade – Kendall Martin, Lincoln County

The 2018 Public Speaking Project 12th grade winner is Kendall Martin of Lincoln County. Martin has served as a teen leader for a project group of fourth graders in the Beef Project category and has also been involved with Veterinary Science and Citizenship Projects in the past. She has been a member of 4-H for eight years and currently attends Riverside Christian Academy where she serves as her class president. Martin says that serving on the State 4-H Council for the past two years has been the most exciting part of her 4-H experience.

2018 Congress winners

Congratulations to all of the winners! We would also like to give a big thank you to all of the generous agents and volunteers who motivated, coached and assisted the finalists – as well as all of the people behind the scenes who made the 71st Tennessee 4-H Congress a success!