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A Jackson County youth recently received the Georgia Innovator of the Year Award from 4-H, America’s largest youth development organization. Hal Jarrett, 17, received the honor for his passion in STEM and the leadership he has shown in Jackson County.
Jarrett, a senior 4-H’er and member of the Jackson County 4-H Robotics Team, is the state winner. While he has many contributions and experiences with 4-H, it was his story of changing the world with his leadership skills and knowledge of engineering and computer information technology that led his 4-H Agent, Keri Hobbs, to encourage him to apply.
“One of my best experiences this year was volunteering with ACE, a mission in Port Maria, Jamaica,” Jarrett said.
With the assistance of his family, Jarrett developed a method for rapidly producing rocket stoves (a low-cost, high-efficiency cooking method) out of concrete. He built molds and sourced local materials to create a very functional stove, making a huge impact on the residents of Port Maria in the summer of 2014.
While in Port Maria, Jarrett helped design and assemble a water filtration system to help the main ACE campus utilize rain water. He also was able to unexpectedly apply some of his computer specific skills to provide internet access to the ACE office (by networking their entire system).
Due to poor cable service in the area, the office had not been able to obtain an internet connection. However, Jarrett was able to design and implement a long distance Wi-Fi bridge to wirelessly connect the office with a local school, which did have connection. As a result, ACE is now able to provide distance learning and Internet tutoring to students in their educational programs.
As the NE District and state winner, Jarrett will receive $500 and his application has been submitted to the National 4-H Innovator of the Year contest.
Two national winners will be selected by a National 4-H Council and HughesNet selection committee to receive an all-expenses paid trip to participate in the 4-H National Youth Science Day event in Washington, D.C., in October.