King takes shot at queen title
To say that De Soto High School sophomore Allyssa King is active in her community would be an understatement.
King, 14, is the junior varsity cheerleading captain and the manager of the softball team at DHS. However, this summer she is focusing on her 4-H projects, something she has participated in for seven years. As a member of De Soto's 4-H Pioneer club, King and fellow 4-H members will spend a great deal of time at the Johnson County Fair in Gardner next week.
King recently competed in the Miss 4-H Johnson County competition in Spring Hill. While placing behind Jessica Smith and Lori Wadhams, two older contestants.
"The friends you make, the education that you receive and the different projects that you can enroll in make 4-H great," King said.
King has taken pride in being a 4-H member over the years. She spent two years as a 4-H Ambassador and three years each on the 4-H council and junior leader groups. King is the secretary of the Pioneer 4-H club and the club's Johnson County council representative.
While she participates in several projects including clothing, crafts, plant science and drawing, King's three favorite activities are sheep, leadership and public speaking. She enjoys showing her sheep at fairs across Kansas and the American Royal in Kansas City, Mo.
"Every winter we have lambs born and it's neat to see them grow up and to get them ready for shows," King said. "For leadership, I have two buddies that are first year members whom I help out."
King said the public speaking skills that she has learned in 4-H have enabled her to promote the organization to young people who don't understand it or may have misconceptions that it is purely an agricultural club. While 4-H holds some of its roots in agriculturally based projects, it offers a wide array of activities that range from crafts to leadership to raising sheep.
"I've been in public speaking since I was seven years old and it has given me more strength when I talk to the community," King said. "I think a lot of the older kids are involved in school stuff and don't think that they can get involved in both."
King learned a great deal from giving a public presentation and interviewing in front of judges. Although she did not win, King was awarded the reserve champion award in the clothing competition.
"I knew it would be tough going in," King said. "I wanted the experience and will probably go out for it again."
In addition to contests and projects that every 4-H member participates in, King was also chosen for the Kansas River Youth Leadership group. King and seven other 4-Hers traveled to Easton last month where they assisted the flood victims.
"We got to help those people that are still there," King said. "We moved a deck from one side to another and tore out the floor in one home and did the flooring."
With all of her community service from 4-H, King would like to continue helping animals when she becomes a veterinarian. She hopes to attend Fort Scott Community College on a livestock judging scholarship. After attending Fort Scott for two years, King would like to complete her animal science degree at Kansas State University.
King said her public speaking skills have assisted her in livestock judging, an activity in which participants have to give an oral presentation to the judge. A member of the Johnson County Livestock Judging team, King will travel to Hutchinson to compete in the State Fair later this summer. King's mother, Denise, said that 4-H activities have been an important part of her daughter's life and will continue to help her down the road.
"Livestock judging helps the kids think on their feet and it makes them feel comfortable to speak in front of a judge by themselves," Denise King said. "4-H has given Allyssa so many skills that she can use in the future."
King said that her various 4-H activities and extracurricular activities at DHS have made it easier for her to balance her time but she manages to enjoy them all.
"During the school year I will have to come home from cheering and go straight to 4-H practice," King said. "4-H is based on family and youth learning together and the friendships you make all over the 4-H program are unbelievable."