by Jeff Osborne
GOLIAD – For eight years Harley Jarzombek has been involved with 4-H activities in Goliad County, and this year the Goliad High School sophomore is the county’s 4-H queen.
That leadership role is the culmination of years of hard work, but those efforts are also something Harley says she has enjoyed.
“I have held almost every officer position available and have been community service director,” she said of the path toward her current position.
“I have showed lambs, hogs and commercial heifers statewide and I’m on the 4-H Council for Goliad County.”
She said having the opportunity to travel and see how 4-H programs operate in different areas has been interesting to her.
“I love being able to go to different places and meet different people,” Harley said. “I visited East Texas three years ago, and they do 4-H a little differently than we do in South Texas, because the climate is different. I really enjoyed seeing that.”
Although she has shown different types of animals at livestock shows, she does have a preference.
“My favorite is lambs — they’re not nearly as messy as hogs are, but I like showing every type of animal,” Harley said.
“My very first year I showed anything I didn’t have to touch — a hog – and that transitioned into showing other animals.”
She is also involved in 4-H photography and community service work.
Her love of 4-H runs in the family. Harley’s younger brother, Garrison, a sixth-grader, is also an avid member of 4-H.
“He does all the same projects that I do,” Harley said.
Harley’s mother and her aunt have helped motivate her to excel in 4-H, she said.
“With my aunt being an ag teacher (for Goliad ISD) and my mom working at the law office, they spend a lot of time encouraging me,” Harley said. “They have pushed me to write my own speeches and to be comfortable and not afraid of speaking in front of people.”
While showing animals is one of many opportunities available to 4-H members, Harley said the program goes far beyond that activity.
“It’s definitely not just showing animals, it is a whole bunch of different things,” she said. “Really the only way to see if it’s for you is to try it for a year and see – you get to have so many fun activities.
“It’s also great to have new friends who aren’t just from where you live. That’s something that’s been really great for me.”
Goliad High School Principal Missy Gimble said she has seen the positive impact that 4-H has had on Harley.
“She is a very confident young lady and that comes with the experience she’s had through 4-H,” she said. “It pushes her to explore new opportunities and puts her head and shoulders above many who haven’t had those experiences.”