Lincoln County 4-H Member Jacob Sestak Inducted into the Oklahoma 4-H Hall of FameMon, 31 Jul 2017 15:01:17 CDT
When he was 9 years old, Lincoln County 4-H’er Jacob Sestak was in his elementary school helping decorate for National 4-H Week. As he hung posters about leadership, citizenship, public speaking and other projects, he was completely unaware of the changes that were just starting in his life.
Now, 10 years later, Sestak will tell you his life changed in a profound way that day.
“Poster by poster, word by word, I was hanging the future of my life - a life beyond my wildest dreams,” he said.
Many of those dreams have become his reality, including achieving the highest honor a 4-H’er in Oklahoma can earn at the state level. He was inducted into the Oklahoma 4-H Hall of Fame during the Honor Night Assembly at the 96th State 4-H Roundup that took place recently at Oklahoma State University. Along with this honor, he received a $2,000 scholarship sponsored by Oklahoma Ag Credit.
“This is definitely a life-changing experience. I’ve been dreaming of being inducted into the Hall of Fame since I attended my first Honor Night Assembly as a guest when I was 8 years old,” Sestak said.
In addition, Sestak was presented with the $1,000 B.A. Pratt Memorial Scholarship, sponsored by the B.A. Pratt Memorial and the $2,000 Oklahoma Ambassador Alumni Scholarship, which is one of the Pickens Legacy Scholarships. He also was recognized as a member of the Blue Award Group.
While there have been so many memorable events throughout his storied 4-H history, Sestak said there’s one event that would leave a lasting impression and set his life on a different course - and it had to do with a simple teddy bear. However, it wasn’t until three years later the full impact of this project hit him.
His club took teddy bears to a local nursing home at Christmastime as part of a community service project. They delivered the bears, visited with the nursing home residents, took some pictures and went home.
“Three years later I was getting ready for some cattle show at the county fair when I was stopped by a man. We discussed the 4-H program and the incredible things it has done for the community,” he said. “Just as I was about to walk away, he pulled a picture from his wallet of a young boy standing next to an elderly woman in that same nursing home. He told me that was his mother and she’d passed away recently. He wanted me to know that teddy bear was her most prized possession and despite the fact she had Alzheimer’s, she always remembered the day I gave her that teddy bear. I was forever changed that day. It was then I realized my purpose was not to become successful in arbitrary means, but to change the world, one person a time.”
This is exactly the impact Sestak has been working on throughout his 4-H career. During this past year as president of the State 4-H Leadership Council, he’s had the opportunity to travel throughout the state and meet hundreds of 4-H’ers from 52 counties. He has crisscrossed the state to the tune of 4,612 miles as of July 5 this year.
Sestak has honed his leadership skills over the course of his time in 4-H, starting with serving as devotional leader of his local club and serving two terms as Lincoln County president. Following an influential experience as a delegate to Citizenship Washington Focus, he was encouraged to spread his wings and apply for State 4-H Ambassador. He later served as the Northwest District representative on the State 4-H Leadership Council, followed by a year as the state reporter before becoming council president.
“I’ve enjoyed these past three years through all of the office work and travel, and understand now that each second has been precious. I never could have supposed those years ago that I would be the state 4-H president, and still now the words seem out of place,” he said. “I’m still that farm kid from Prague, Oklahoma. And while titles and award mounts, I’ve worked to preserve the passion and fiery eyes that I had back in the beginning of my 4-H career.”
Sestak also is a member of Oklahoma 4-H Key Club and was previously named the agriculture state record book winner and the advanced agriculture record book winner.
Although his 4-H activities certainly kept him busy, Sestak also found time to diversify his interests. While attending Prague High School he served as president of his 2016 senior class and president of the Prague Student Council. He served on the Vision and BancFirst Financial Advisory Board and the Student Advisory Council to Oklahoma State Superintendent of Schools Joy Hofmeister.
During his freshman year at OSU, he’s been active in the Freshmen Representative Council, Collegiate 4-H and the OSU Crops Judging Team.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that without the Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development Program, these goals and dreams never would have been realized,” he said. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”
Sestak has some advice for those who are just starting their 4-H careers.
“Don’t waste a second. Begin to chase your dreams today, as if there’s no tomorrow, and don’t allow yourself to live with any regrets,” he said. “Learn all you can in the amount of time you have in 4-H because time moves faster than anyone can fathom. 4-H has taught me even a small-town farm kid can change the world, can change a community and can change a life.”
Sestak recently completed his freshman year at OSU where he’s majoring in agricultural economics. He is the son of Ross Sestak.
Source - Oklahoma State University
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