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Louisiana 4-H stalwart named 2023 Truman Scholar

Antavion “Tay” Moore is going to need to clear out some shelf space as he continues to pile up accolades during his career at LSU. The latest honor for the junior from Ringgold, Louisiana, is being named a 2023 Truman Scholar.

Moore, this year’s sole recipient from Louisiana, is one of only 62 students selected out of 705 candidates nationwide. Last year, he was chosen as a trustee to the Board of the National 4-H Council, another grand achievement for a self-described “country kid from Bienville Parish.”

The Harry S. Truman Foundation describes its scholarship as “the premier graduate scholarship for students interested in public service.” Recipients get $30,000 to attend the graduate school of their choice among other benefits, including the ability to apply for additional matching funds with graduate school partners.

Moore, a former Louisiana 4-H state president, has been involved with the organization for more than a decade. He is currently studying political science and music and is a member of the LSU Ogden Honors College Louisiana Service and Leadership program.

Moore, who said his time in 4-H has been a prime influence on his success, is humble about his latest honor and credits those who have mentored him through the years.

“Being selected as a Truman Scholar is still mind blowing,” he said. “Right after my interview in Austin, I called Mrs. Karen and told her how terrible I thought the interview went and that I didn’t believe I would be selected.”

Moore is referring to AgCenter 4-H coordinator for northwest Louisiana, Karen M. Martin, who has known him since junior high when he began competing at 4-H University and was then elected to the State 4-H Executive Board.

“She gave me a typical ‘Mrs. Karen talking-to,’ reminding me how much of an honor and privilege it was to even make it to the final round,” he said. “So, finding out I won the scholarship was quite a surprise.”

Martin called Moore “a great leader” and said he is an awesome young man who is just beginning to make a difference in this world.

“It’s because he cares about others, and they can see that,” she said. “It’s great that he is now being recognized.”

Moore described Truman Scholars as “the now generation of public servants.” He said receiving this award is a testament to the power of cooperative extension and 4-H in molding present and future change agents.

“I only hope to use everything I gain as a Truman Scholar to advocate for and further develop rural communities in the South,” he said.

Moore, who will graduate in May 2024, also credited Toby Lepley, AgCenter associate vice president and program leader for 4-H youth development, for helping him become the man he is today.

“Tay is truly a unique young man. He is and has always been focused on his goals and purpose in life, and that has been to serve others, and especially those who do not have a voice,” Lepley said.

Lepley went on to say that Moore never simply used his accolades to his own advantage but focused more on the betterment of others.

“He is humble, intelligent, professional, and you just cannot not like him,” Lepley said. “I feel I have only served as a cheerleader for this young man who will probably have huge positive impacts on many.”

Moore said he’s not sure he would have won the Truman Scholarship without the experiences 4-H afforded him.

“4-H was the only club at my rural elementary school and, throughout my life thus far, has been a place of belonging, has challenged me to grow as a leader and has birthed in me a passion for service to community,” he said. “It broadened my perspective of issues facing our country and proved that I could make a difference no matter my age.”

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