Two women, one adult, one older teen, posing for a picture after the teen won an award
Senior Mackenzie Kimbarl and State 4-H Leader, Melanie Biersmith pose for a photo at 2024 Junior Senior DPA. Photo by H. Haines

Heather Haines, 4-H Agent, UGA Extension Forsyth County

Each year, local students in 7th through 12th grade submit a Portfolio to the local Extension Office to signify their intent to participate in Junior/Senior Project Achievement in March. Portfolios are a celebration of youth’s work and accomplishments over the last calendar year. The document is two pages long and highlights the student’s work in a specific project, their leadership activities, community service, and other events that they would like the judges to consider. Creating a portfolio provides young people with valuable life experience for when they need to create resumes for their careers. Additionally, in many professions, strong public speaking skills are highly valued. Whether giving presentations, pitching ideas, or leading meetings, the ability to speak confidently and persuasively is crucial for success in numerous careers.

Next, youth create an oral presentation on their chosen project area. Topics are offered in more than 50 different program areas with nearly every topic of interest or educational area available for exploration and presentation. Practicing public speaking is the best way for youth to build this valuable skill that will serve them well throughout their lives. Whether it’s through participating in activities like debating clubs, drama classes, or simply practicing speaking in front of family and friends, regular practice can greatly enhance a child’s public speaking abilities and boost their confidence in various aspects of life.

An adult woman and a high school student posing as the youth receives a public speaking award.
NW District PDC Dr. Lori Purcell and Alessandra Reneau pose as Reneau receives her first place award for Performing Arts-Piano.

Presentations are scored by area content experts. Project achievement ends at the district competition for the 7th and 8th graders, however, if a Senior, or 9th-12th grade, 4-Her place 1st in their project, they advance to State Congress.

This year’s Junior and Senior Project Achievement Participants included:

Tallulah Bates, Health, 4th place

Addie Davis, Performing Arts-Vocal, 1st place

Aakarsha Gangaraju, Sports-Team

Avanni Joshi, Public Speaking, 2nd place

Mackenzie Kimbarl, Sports 3rd place with a sweepstakes

Navin Majji, Computer Information Technology, 3rd place

Navya Majji, Human Development, 3rd place

Neeva Patel, Arts, 1st place

Alessandra Reneau, Performing Arts—Piano, 1st place

Lucas Rymer, Sports

Bethany Taylor, Computer Information Technology

Pal Vaghani, Environmental Science, 3rd place

Lily Wright, Human Development

Alessandra Reneau and Mackenzie Kimbarl will be representing Forsyth County at State Congress this summer. Reneau qualified with a first place win in her project area and Kimbarl qualified with a sweepstakes win. This year, Sports was the largest project area with 16 Seniors competing.

State Congress is a four-day event held in July of every year in Atlanta. This event brings together 4-Hers who excelled in their project work from all four state districts. At State Congress, 4-Hers compete for Master Status in their project area by placing 1st in the state. Kimbarl was also recognized at the Graduating Senior Banquet where she received her graduation cords.

Students have already started working on their projects for 2025! If your child is interested in practicing their public speaking skills, reach out to Heather Haines at so they can start working on their portfolios today!