2017 President Rachael Hammond
Rachael Hammond

Hammond, Rachel (Indiana) NJHA President

Howdy! My name is Rachel Hammond and I am serving as your NJHA President for the 2016/2017 year! I’m an Indiana girl, living on the outskirts of Fort Wayne in the country where I enjoy raising animals and being surrounded by fields. I am a 4H Volunteer Leader & Board member.  I enjoy taking classes at Ivy Tech Community College Ft. Wayne to further my knowledge.
I love helping and being a part of the NJHA, which I have been a part of since 8th grade (2009). I am honored to serve as an officer for the fifth year in a row. My position gives me the opportunity to learn and meet new people, all while giving back to an organization that cares about youth and the Horticulture industry. With NJHA I have seen many great states, from California to Virginia, and their importance to Horticulture. Throughout the years I have participated in various contests at NJHA Conventions, including: Hort. ID, Demonstrations, Posters, & NJHA’s Next Top Chef!  This year as an officer I would like to keep in contact with YC’s, other officers, board members, and the community to keep them and myself informed and updated. I will encourage youth and advisors to return to conventions and give input for upcoming conventions. To keep NJHA “Going and Growing” it’s important to keep talking about NJHA and spreading the word. In the future of NJHA I see a great organization serving youth, interested in Horticulture, in big ways. I see changes that will help and improve our organization. All together we CAN keep NJHA Going and Growing! Follow us on Facebook at NJHA-National Junior Horticultural Association.


2017 Vice President Abby Kulpa
Abby Kulpa

Kulpa, Abby (Florida)  NJHA Vice President

My name is Abby Kulpa, and I am so happy to serve as your Vice President this year! I grew up in a rural area outside of St. Augustine Florida where I was homeschooled and very active in the local, state, and national 4-H program for over 10 years before I graduated. This is where I originally became interested in horticulture, and knew I wanted to pursue it as a career path. I was very involved in the Horticulture program in 4-H and two of my older brothers went to the 2010 NJHA Convention in Cleveland Ohio, so I was very excited for the opportunity to attend in 2013. Because of the hard work and encouragement of my mentor Mr. Keith Fuller, I placed 4th in the 4-H category, and came back to win Grand National in the open division, and extemporaneous speech contests in 2014. At the 2015 Convention in Orlando, I was awarded Grand National in the Honors division for horticulture identification, and I won with my speech in 2015. I love this organization and I can’t wait to visit Indiana this year.

I am currently a sophomore at the local college studying horticulture science, and will be transferring to the University of Florida at some point this year! I am also very active with my church, and regularly take trips to Haiti to work with a variety of orphanages and communities to help them implement sustainable gardening practices.

I firmly believe in the importance of learning about how plants and horticulture effect the environment around us, and I truly love that NJHA helps us make a difference! Can’t wait to see you at convention!


2017 Secretary Angela Richards
Angela Richards

Richards, Angela M (California)  NJHA Secretary

Hi! My name is Angela Richards and I am from the great state of California. I live about 40 minutes from (not) sunny San Francisco in a little city called Livermore. You’ve probably heard of Napa wine country because it is synonymous with the wine industry, but you might not know that my city is also a huge wine supplier. We have dozens of vineyards and thousands of acres of wine grapes all within about 10 miles of my house. I am currently a freshman at William Jessup University in Rocklin California where I am majoring in Business and Public Policy – Government and Politics. I am a part of the Jessup Concert Choir, which is my school’s women’s choir. I have been a member of Alameda County 4-H for the past 11 years and served two terms as a county All Star and two terms as a Sectional VP – Healthy Living. I love reading and crafting of all kinds. But especially reading and plants (my dorm room decor consists of books and plants). My first NJHA convention was Lexington, Kentucky in 2014. It’s funny, I didn’t study for the State test because I really wanted to go to the 2015 convention in Florida. Somehow though, I managed to have the second highest score in the state contest and therefore earned myself a spot on California’s team. At the convention, I had a blast. I made new friends, learned many new things and determined to come back again. That I did in 2015, with two of my previous team members. Our goal was to win the open division so that we could compete in honors the following year. We managed to do that, but sadly I was not able to attend the 2016 convention in Erie, Pennsylvania because of inescapable school commitments. I was still able to participate in small ways. I entered a few contests and applied for an officer position. I was able to interview via video-chat and was selected at the 2016-2017 secretary. I can’t wait until next year’s convention in Indiana. This year, as an NJHA officer, I hope to encourage increased participation from states that currently attend NJHA and from those that do not. I want to create new contests and competitions that appeal to a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Most of all, I want to share my love of plants with others and hopefully foster that same passion in the next generation of bright young NJHA members.

2017 Director Paige Adams
Paige Adams

Adams, Paige (Illinois) NJHA Director

Hey guys! My name is Paige Adams and I am your NJHA 2016-2017 Director! I have been attending NJHA conventions since 2015. I mainly compete in speech competitions, therefore; I love talking to people as well as meeting them! I’m from Northern Illinois more specifically, Stillman Valley! I am very active in my FFA chapter and I am currently serving as my school’s FFA president. I am also a member of the National Honor Society! One more thing about me is that I have been on my districts track and field team since the 6th grade. Now, my senior year of high school, I am still throwing the shot put and discus! I decided to become an NJHA officer after my first year of being a member. This is because I realized what a wonderful organization as well as an untapped resource NJHA really is! I know that I am new at this but I promise I won’t let you down! NJHA is now apart of my life and I wouldn’t want it any other way! I’m excited to travel and meet as many new people as I possibly can… so when you see me at convention make sure you holler at me!:)




2017 Past President Adam Romlein
Adam Romlein

Romlein, Adam (New York)  NJHA Past President

Hello! My name is Adam Romlein, and I am your 2016-2017 National Past President. I live in Northern NY, just 45 minutes south of Canada. I am 19 years old, and a sophomore attending Clarkson University pursuing a degree in engineering. I really enjoy playing drums, and have dabbled in piano. I love to read. These past few years I’ve been involved with Taekwondo, and really like the martial art.

I have been involved with horticulture for as long as I can remember. I started at the county level, then at the age of nine began competing at state level. Over several years, with the help of a great coach, Bill MacKentley, I won each state category: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. At the age of 15, I went to the NJHA convention in Wisconsin Dells (2012) and was the Grand National Award Winner in the 4-H division. The next year, in Williamsburg, VA (2013), I moved on to win the Honors Division. I also went to Lexington, KY (2014), to compete in the Extemporaneous Speech Contest, enter in the Photo Contest, and to apply as an Eastern Director. The past year in Orlando, FL, I fulfilled my duties as the Eastern Director, and was elected as President. This year in Erie, PA, I had the privilege of being your President, and truly enjoyed the experience and all it had to offer. I look forward to serving as your Past President this coming year and in Indianapolis!

I know that this organization has a lot to offer to the youth of this nation. Encouraging the officer team and helping them succeed will be my main goal this year. I know a lot of states don’t participate, and I hope to get them involved if possible. With the contacts I made during my year as President, I will work on recruiting new people, and encouraging all those of eligible age to compete.

I know that this coming convention in Indianapolis, IN, will be an awesome time. Please, tell your friends, get them involved in horticulture! Getting to know nature will never be outdated, but instead is a fascinating skill that really makes you appreciate the planet you live on.


2017 Advisor Debbie Gegare
Debbie Gegare

Gegare, Debbie (Wisconsin) NJHA Advisor

Hi, I am Debbie Gegare from Wisconsin and I am the Advisor to the National Officer Team.  I have two children Lexi, who is a NJHA Alumni and my son Kedric, who is 10 and is just starting to learn about horticulture.  We also have 3 cats named Calysta, Milly and Zoey and 2 Pomeranian dogs Jasmine and Sophie. I work for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture as the Program Manager of Market Orders and Fairs.  I monitor the seven commodity market orders we have in our State and get to see a lot of county fairs in the summer. It’s the perfect job for me as I’m able to use my horticulture knowledge and background with fairs and boards. I am not only involved with NJHA, but also 4-H and the Grange.  In 4-H, I am a project leader for Music and Drama, Food preservation and I am the County Camp Director.  I am currently the Overseer (Vice President) of my local Grange chapter and the Overseer and Membership and Youth Director for the Wisconsin State Grange.  I have also done some work with the National Grange for many years. I have been involved with NJHA for over 25 years.  My first convention was the 50th Convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1984.  I represented Wisconsin on a 4-H team and was hooked on NJHA right from the start.  I was active as a Y/C, became a national officer and when I graduated out, I worked with teams and became the State Leader for Wisconsin.  We have made NJHA a family affair as my parents, sister, daughter and son have all participated in different aspects of the organization As the National Advisor, I work closely with the National Officer Team.  We help to plan conventions and keep in communication with the members of our organization throughout the year.   Our goal is to have representation from all states at our annual meeting.  NJHA is a best kept secret, but let’s not keep it a secret any longer.  I encourage and challenge you to spread the word about our awesome organization.  When voices start talking, people will hear.  We are very excited to begin working out the details for the 83nd annual convention, held October 6 – 9, 2017 in Indianapolis, IN.  Plan on attending. You won’t want to miss it!

2017 NJHA Officers
Top Row L to R – Rachael Hammond (Indiana) President, Debbie Gegare (Wisconsin) Advisor, Angela Richards (California) Secretary; Middle L to R – Adam Romlein (New York) Past President, Paige Adams (Illinois) Director; Bottom – Abby Kulpa (Florida) Vice-President

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