GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Ching-Han “Jean” Huang, 17, a member of Florida 4-H, has won the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Art Contest.
The contest asks young artists to show their appreciation for Florida farmers through their original artwork. Jean’s winning design depicts Florida’s many agricultural commodities filling the outline of the Sunshine state. At the top of the piece, a smiling farmer pushes a wheelbarrow.
“I was thinking about how to connect all the fruits and vegetables with Florida, so I combined all the fruit and vegetables and made that into a map of the state,” she said. “And I also wanted to show the hard work of all the farmers in Florida.”
Jean arrived in Wakulla County, Florida, last August as part of the Rotary Youth Exchange program. She was hosted by Rachel Pienta, the 4-H agent for UF/IFAS Extension Wakulla County, and Rachel’s husband, David.
Jean was excited to learn more about American culture and to practice her English. Though she had visited the U.S. before, she had never been to Florida and wasn’t familiar with the 4-H youth development program.
Pienta quickly introduced Jean to 4-H as a way for her to gain new experiences.
In the Bits and Bridles Horse Club, Jean learned all about caring for horses and how to ride. She also got to try archery and learned skeet shooting, two sports Jean had never experienced. Jean also attended the NW District Teen Retreat at 4-H Camp Timpoochee as well as 4-H Day at the Capitol in Tallahassee.
Jean’s host mother, Rachel Pienta, said, “Enrolling Jean in 4-H afforded her so many additional opportunities to make friends, develop new skills, and become more confident in her ability to navigate new experiences. Her time in America was definitely enriched through her membership in 4-H.”
During her stay, Jean was a student at Wakulla High School, where she excelled in her digital design class, even becoming certified in Adobe Photoshop. In addition to the FDACS contest, her art won awards at the North Florida Fair and was featured in the high school’s production of Alice in Wonderland. She even created artwork for Wakulla County’s 4-H teen retreat.
Unfortunately, Jean was unable to finish her scheduled visit in Florida. She left Florida in early May when Taiwan asked its citizens abroad to return home due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, she came away with many fond memories.
“I really enjoy the life there in Florida,” Jean said. “And thanks, y’all, for taking good care of me.”
–Samantha Murray, UF/IFAS