Davison to be recognized at State Fair in Tractor Supply Company’s “Great Neighbor” Essay Contest

Diana Davison ...
Diana Davison ...

Tractor Supply Company is recognizing Waukon High School student Diana Davison for her exceptional community contributions through its second annual “Great Neighbor” Essay Contest at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines this Saturday, August 11. Davison will be a sophomore at Waukon High School this fall and the “Great Neighbor” essay she entered into the contest appears at right, along with her photo.

The “Great Neighbor” Essay Contest encouraged youth across the country to submit a short essay detailing how a memorable 4-H or FFA experience has influenced their development as a great neighbor in their community. Tractor Supply received hundreds of entries, and Davison was selected as one of the winners from the state of Iowa. She will be recognized during a special ceremony this Saturday, August 11 at 2 p.m. at the Tractor Supply booth inside the Iowa State Fair.

Now in its fourth year, Tractor Supply Company’s “Follow Us to the Fair” Tour is embarking on an 11,000-mile cross-country journey to state and county fairs, making 24 stops in 14 states over six months, including the Iowa State Fair. In addition to family-friendly activities and opportunities to win prizes, the “Follow Us to the Fair” Tour will celebrate more than 100 4-H and FFA youth through Tractor Supply’s second annual “Great Neighbor” Essay Contest.

Along with Davison, four other Iowa high school students are being recognized for their “Great Neighbor” essays, including Macy Moore of What Cheer, Seth Crow Schrader of Marion, Cade Van Vliet of Pella and Chloe Van Vliet of Pella. In addition to a commemorative plaque, winners will walk away with a special Tractor Supply gift pack.

“Fairs have a longstanding tradition of bringing people of all ages together to celebrate the local community and the key role that agriculture plays within it,” said Christi Korzekwa, senior vice president of marketing at Tractor Supply Company. “The ‘Follow Us to the Fair’ Tour seeks to preserve this tradition while adding family fun to the experience. The ‘Great Neighbor’ Essay Contest also lets us recognize the incredible work 4-H and FFA youth are doing in their communities.”

In addition to the ceremony August 11, Tractor Supply’s traveling exhibit will give fairgoers the opportunity to experience the excitement of “Life Out Here” through a variety of entertainment options, including music, interactive games and ways to win prizes. Attendees will have the chance to test their abilities on a strength game, have their free photo taken on a bucking bull, race to “feed the animals” in a bean bag toss, take home huge prizes and participate in fun, educational activities.
 

Diana Davison’s “Great Neighbor” Essay

When picking just one memory throughout 4-H and FFA, I will admit I struggled. They both have offered me so much. I am a member of the River Valley Panthers 4-H club, 4-H County Council member for Allamakee County, and a member of the Little Switzerland FFA chapter at Waukon. Both organizations have made me into a great neighbor by improving my leadership skills. I no longer want to be a follower; I want to be a leader. My goal is to help lead others to success even if they are not members of 4-H or FFA, just as members from both organizations have done for me.

The 2017-2018 year is marking my fifth year of 4-H, and I couldn’t be more thankful for all the opportunities I have been given. It’s anything from showing dogs at the county fair to giving an educational presentation at the Iowa State Fair. Throughout my years of 4-H, I have continued my citizenship project. It all started when I was just a little toddler going to quilt shops with my grandma and picking out some crazy fabrics. When I was 10 years old, I sewed my first official seam on the sewing machine. With the help of my grandma Janice Shogren and a very close friend, Jean Brink (who now owns the quilt shop in Waukon ‘Queen Jean Quilting’), we started a sewing group in my community called ‘The Waukon Area Quilts of Valor Sewers.’ A Quilt of Valor is a quilt presented to a veteran who has been touched by war.

As my journey with this project has continued, I had always wanted to award my grandpa with a quilt, but he didn’t qualify as he had served in peacetime. My grandma, Jean and I then thought of changing the name to ‘The Waukon Patriot Quilters’ where quilts are now awarded to veterans that may not have been touched by war, but still served our amazing country. As it had gotten difficult to continue to pay for all the fabric and everything that goes into a quilt, I was given the opportunity to apply for a grant from DuPont Pioneer. My project was just starting to kick into high gear when I was in 7th grade and the Little Switzerland FFA chapter had donated the money that was raised from National FFA Week. I have now been able to get my 4-H club members involved in my project.

My citizenship project for Patriot Quilts is still a citizenship project, but has now doubled as a leadership project as I am teaching club members how to sew. On Veterans Day 2017, a member of my 4-H club and I presented a quilt to her father in front of the entire student body at Waukon. During my years of my project, I have learned to give back to members of my community, as they have done so much for me. Veterans have put their lives on the line so I could do what I love. Sewing a quilt from start to finish is the least I could do for them. From year one of 4-H now to my fifth, I have not only learned how to be a leader for others, but a great neighbor. As I am only a freshman and my career for FFA is just starting, the opportunities to help others are endless.
 

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