Triple threat: Three Miss Arkansas contestants bring 4-H backgrounds to the world of scholarship pageants
By Jessica Wesson
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Aug. 1, 2018
- Former 4-H members competed at Miss Arkansas
- All three women credit 4-H for their success
LITTLE ROCK – Three alumna are crediting their first-place finishes in the Miss Arkansas pageant program to life skills learned in the 4-H youth development program.
The three who earned titles this year are Miss Grand Prairie, Charlee Carter of Monticello; Miss Southern Arkansas University, Reagan Grubbs of Delight; and Miss University of Arkansas, Ashton Yarbrough of Gravette.
4-H cultivates youth skills and interests in three areas: citizenship, healthy living and science. The three women said it was the skills learned in 4-H that propelled them into the next stages of their lives.
Miss Grand Prairie
Carter, currently serving as Miss Grand Prairie, has a unique legacy in 4-H and extension. Carter is the daughter of a Cooperative Extension Service agent and an active member of the Bradley County 4-H club. She said that 4-H gave her skills and opportunities.
“4-H gave me the opportunity to be involved in my community by attending health fairs, where I could be an advocate for my platform,” Carter said. “I gave back to my community by sewing port pillows, pillowcases, and blankets for the nursing home. It gave me the confidence to speak out about what I’m passionate about.”
Carter won an $8,000 Sue Marshall scholarship awarded at the Arkansas 4-H State-O-Rama three years ago, based on the strength of her community service and a record book that documented her education in dance. She was also named 4-H’er of the Year in 2014. She also earned a 4-H Scott Tractor $1,000 scholarship in 2015.
Carter said she was exposed to a whole new world of possibilities because of her involvement in 4-H, starting with self-confidence.
“I’m an advocate for mental health,” Carter said. “I suffered with anxiety for years, and it kept me from my dream of competing in Miss Arkansas, because I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Being involved in 4-H helped me gain my confidence back and be a survivor so I could live out my dream.”
Carter is scheduled to graduate from the University of Arkansas at Monticello in 2019 with a bachelor’s in business finance, and hopes to pursue a career as a financial adviser. She said that a graduate degree may be in her future as well.
Carter’s mother, Michelle Carter, is a 4-H and family and consumer sciences agent for the Cooperative Extension Service in Bradley County. She said she actively encourages involvement in youth organizations.
“4-H provides many opportunities for youth to grow and develop into productive members of society,” Michelle Carter said. “I live 4-H every day, and see the impact that it has on young people. Many of my 4-H'ers have really come out of their shells while interacting with others. It is amazing to see the growth in each kid.”
Miss Southern Arkansas University
Reagan Grubbs felt so strongly about 4-H, her Miss Arkansas platform was “Growing Future Leaders through 4-H.”
Grubbs said that 4-H was instrumental in building a foundation for her.
“4-H has helped me to prepare for all phases of life,” she said. “I have grown tremendously in organization, responsibility, and leadership skills.
“Not only have these skills helped me for my life, but also for my pageant experience,” she said. “My growth in communication abilities have helped me prepare for interviews and be the best speaker I can be.”
Grubbs said she found a sanctuary in 4-H that allowed her to blossom.
“It also helped me to be myself, being able to be 100 percent me and not let anyone change that. 4-H has helped me grow into the strong leader, and confident young woman that I am today,” Grubbs said.
Grubbs said she plans to continue her education this fall at the University of Arkansas. She will pursue a master’s degree in Agriculture and Extension Education. Her career plans include becoming a 4-H county extension agent.
Miss University of Arkansas
Ashton Yarbrough, currently serving as Miss University of Arkansas, was a former 4-H member in Benton County.
She said her background in 4-H shaped who she was as a person.
“4-H was a major part of my life growing up. I was a member for 13 years and feel as though without the organization, I would be a very different person,” she said.
Her platform was “Passion to Action: Volunteer.” Yarbrough’s vigor for action was ignited in 4-H.
“It was through 4-H that I discovered my passion for serving others and making my community a better place to live,” she said. “This was the driving force in my decision to make volunteering my platform when I began competing in scholarship pageants. I felt as though I was very lucky to have grown up knowing the importance of community service and wanted to be able to share that with people across the state of Arkansas.
“4-H also instilled in me the importance of teamwork, communication, and hard work. I like to believe that from my participation in 4-H, I am well equipped to take on the ‘real world’ after college,” said Yarbrough.
“I am someone who is eager to make a large impact on the people I know and place I live,” she said. “Competing in pageants has given me the opportunity to do just that. In addition, being able to earn scholarship money while doing something that is fun and challenges you to be the best version of yourself is incredibly rewarding.”
Yarborough’s future plans include graduating from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Elementary Education. She said she hopes to stay in in northwest Arkansas and teach middle school English.
Here’s how the three fared in the Miss Arkansas pageant:
- Carter won the Fine Lines Training Non-Finalist Swimsuit Award, in the amount of $500 provided by Ann Marie and Kenny Gibbs. She was tied for first-place in both alpha and preliminary swimsuit competitions on Wednesday night, earning another $2,000.
- Grubbs won the alpha swimsuit competition, a $1,000 Miss Arkansas Scholarship Foundation Spirit of the Pageant Award for Tuesday night preliminaries and a $500 scholarship from Zenstudio.
- Yarbrough won the Bobbie Horton Elementary Education Award, resulting in a $1,000 scholarship.
For more information about 4-H visit www.uaex.edu/4h-youth/ or contact your local county agent.
For more information about the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Pageant, visit www.missarkansas.org.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
Media Contact: Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service