At its November meeting the Hawkins County Commission honored Cherokee High School senior Jim Jenkins who was elected Tennessee 4-H State Council President for 2021-2022 earlier this year.
During the statewide Tennessee 4-H Roundup in July when he was elected, Jenkins also received the Vol State Award, the highest award given to a Tennessee 4-Her.
This was the crowning jewel of a long and highly decorated 4-H career for Jenkins.
Jenkins is a ninth generation East Tennessean and a lifelong resident of Hawkins County. He is the youngest of four children raised on the family beef cattle farm. Since 4th grade he has been active in Hawkins County 4-H.
As a 7th grade Hawkins County 4-Her, Jenkins was selected to serve on the Appalachian Fair Youth Board — a position he continues in today, currently serving as Vice President. He is often seen at the Appalachian Fair, parades and news conferences promoting the fair, wearing a 7-foot duck costume as “Appy” the Appalachian Fair Mascot.
When he was eligible as a 9th grader he was initiated into the Eastern Region 4-H All-Stars and elected to serve as an Upper 8 Scout of the Eastern Region.
Since that time he has served as Eagle Scout and was elected last spring as the Eastern Region 4-H All Stars Chief by delegates from the 33 counties that make up the Eastern Region in Tennessee 4-H.
As a Senior Level 4-Her in high school Jenkins has competed in the 4-H project areas of Leadership, Citizenship, Public Speaking, and Forestry, Wildlife & Fisheries and as a member of the Livestock and Wildlife Judging teams. He has been active with the Shooting Sports project and was a member of the First Place winning Rifle Team from Hawkins County at the state jamboree in Dickson, Tennessee in the spring of 2019 as well as a Top Ten high individual.
As a Level I Senior High 4-Her, Jenkins was a regional finalist in Public Speaking, a state finalist in Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries and a state finalist in Citizenship, competing against freshmen and sophomores from across the state.
In 2020, Jenkins was elected as the Tennessee 4-H Congress Speaker of the House and was a state winner in both Level I Forestry, Wildlife & Fisheries and the Level I Leadership Project.
Also, during the 2020 nationwide election, vital efforts were made to create a safe voting environment. Jenkins led the Hawkins County 4-H Honor Club and the Heritage Lites Youth Leadership Group to assist the Hawkins County Election Commission in the creation of voter sanitary packs which were provided for each voter at the polls.
This project was nominated for the yearly 4-H state community service project. Jenkins was selected to present the project at the Tennessee 4-H All-Stars luncheon. Hawkins County 4-H won the prestigious Don Bowman Award as a result of the leadership and community service impact of the project.
Jenkins has served two years as a Tennessee 4-H Healthy Living Ambassador and attended the National 4-H Healthy Living Summit as a Tennessee Delegate. His healthy living proposal to “Keep Hawkins Healthy” was a national finalist.
In March of 2021, Jim was announced as the state winner in the Senior High Level II Leadership Project, earning a trip to National 4-H Congress in Atlanta in November 2021 as a Tennessee delegate. This is the highest honor for Tennessee 4-H project work since only state project winners may attend.
Jenkins has been accepted as a member of the University of Tennessee Herbert College of Agriculture Class of 2026. He will major in Agriculture Business and Political Science and plans to attend law school after college and return to the family farm in Hawkins County.
Jenkins is the son of Doug and Pam Jenkins and the grandson of Bill and Kathryn Jenkins and Naomi Lawson and the late Renn Lawson, Sr.