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Published May 13, 2010, 01:40 PM

ND 4-H member from Sioux County receives national award

FARGO - A North Dakota 4-H member is the first recipient of the national 4-H Youth in Action Award.

By: NDSU Extension Service, INFORUM

FARGO - A North Dakota 4-H member is the first recipient of the national 4-H Youth in Action Award.

Samantha Jo Ridley, a Sioux County 4-H'er and member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, received the award at the National 4-H Council's inaugural 4-H Legacy Awards Gala in Washington, D.C., April 22.

"I was so honored to have received the Youth in Action Award," says the McLaughlin (S.D.) High School senior. "I'm so thankful for the 4-H program and all it has done for my family."

She was selected to receive the award for embodying the spirit of the 4-H movement to help her overcome obstacles and lead efforts to make her community and world a better place.

Ridley has received recognition for her academic and other work with several awards, including the Standing Rock Youth Wellness Award, Outstanding Junior Science Award, Outstanding English III Award, Principal's Award, Mathematics Mastery Award, Sioux County Extension Service Archery Award, Mu Alpha Theta Award from the National Society of Professional Engineers and Professional Engineers in Industry, and Community Service Award for tutoring elementary students.

She also is on the National Honor Roll and a certified junior archery instructor, and has earned several gold medals in archery. She has participated in several programs, including the U.S. Achievement Academy, Sitting Bull College Sunday Academy of Science, National 4-H Conference, International Science Fair, National Youth Medical Forum and Harold Schafer Leadership Camp, and is taking advanced placement courses in math online from Northern State College, Aberdeen, S.D.

In addition, she is senior class president, the 2010 homecoming and prom queen, and 2009-10 Miss Standing Rock Nation.

She has been named a Gates Millennium Scholar and received a full scholarship to attend Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. She plans to start at Dartmouth this fall and study neuroscience. Her goal is to become a neurosurgeon and return to serve people in the Standing Rock Tribe.

"She is one of the most amazing young people," says Sioux County Extension Service agent Sue Isbell. "She's always pushing herself to succeed. She is a true leader in her community and for 4-H."

The gala honored individuals and corporations for making a lasting impact in their efforts to improve America's 4-H youth development program. More than 6 million youth throughout the U.S. participate in 4-H programming.

The gala also was a celebration of 108 years of 4-H preparing young people to face challenges and take the lead in their communities and world.

"By providing innovative and engaging programming in science, healthy living and citizenship, 4-H is growing the next generation of America's leaders and strengthening our nation's ability to tackle the world's top challenges," says Don Floyd, president and CEO of the National 4-H Council.

The council plans to make the gala an annual event.