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Hoppin' 4-H member learns more than animals through annual fair

Robin Bradshaw/ rbradshaw1@gatehousemedia.com

Experiencing agricultural is not something that children in Jim Wells County take seriously. They understand what it means to work with animals and the land to sustain life as they serve the community.

Jacob Gonzalez is a ninth grader at Alice High School. He is a member of the Hoppin' 4-H Club. He has been a part of the Jim Wells County fair for several years by showing rabbits and goats.

Jacob Gonzalez is a ninth grader at Alice High School. He is a member of the Hoppin' 4-H Club.

“My main projects, in 4-H, are my livestock projects. I show both rabbits and goats.  I chose these projects because I was introduced to them at a very early age through my older sister, who also showed rabbits and goats,” Gonzalez said. “These projects required my daily attention to maintain their health and ideal weight in order to gain entry to the show, and I grew to enjoy the challenge.”

Gonzalez works hard on his exhibits, but he also enjoys the relationships that he has made through the 4-H.

“My greatest experience that I have had in 4-H is meeting new people, making lifelong friends, and working as a team to better serve our community,” Gonzalez said.

However, when the pandemic began, meeting face to face shifted over to virtual.

“I really miss interacting with my group and being able to go out in the community to do our service projects,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez 's ultimate goal is to win Overall Grand Champion – an award that would show how much his preparations have paid off. He has earned a first place award in the rabbit’s weight class and second in his division.

4-H members like Gonzalez participate in events that promote the organization and recruit new members.

Gonzalez has a list of events that he has participated such as the annual Paper Clover. The event encourages the public to purchase a paper clover for $1. All donations go towards purchasing equipment for 4-H that are utilized in different activities promoted by 4-H, which include shooting sports, robotics, and culinary, to name a few.

Another group project Gonzalez has been a part of was the clothing and toiletry drive for the Alice Coyote Closet. The group gathered school related clothing items and toiletries in order to benefit families in the community.

“Being able to contribute to families who might need a little help makes me appreciate what I have, and know that I have the ability to help someone and make a difference in their life,” Gonzalez said.

Throughout his time in 4-H, Gonzalez has served as the club delegate for the County Council, participated in Archery and Rifle sports, and overall enjoyed his time in 4-H, and looks forward to the opportunities that will come in the next four years.

Through everything that he's learned, Gonzalez said that if he could add a fifth H to the 4-H’s, he would add to “be humble” because he believes it is important for people to remember where they come from and to always give back.