2018 President Abby Kulpa
Abby Kulpa

Kulpa, Abby (Florida)  NJHA President

If you told me five years ago that I would be where I am at now, I wouldn’t have believed you; I am humbled to serve this year as your President, and am excited for all the opportunities this year will bring. 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. Through this involvement 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, and have been coming back every year since!
I am currently a junior at the local college studying business and horticulture science, and will be transferring to the University of Florida at some point this year! I am also the Marketing and Events Coordinator for Cypress Village, one of the largest retirement care communities in the country where I spend my days doing what I love – helping people, and helping them live life to the fullest! 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!


2018 Vice President Paige Adams
Paige Adams

Adams, Paige (Illinois) NJHA Vice President

Hey guys! My name is Paige Adams and I am your NJHA 2017-2018 Vice President! 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 was a very active in my FFA chapter and last year I served as my school’s FFA president. I am also a member of National Honor Society. 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! NJHA is now a part 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.





Chi, Ethan (California) NJHA Secretary

Hi! My name is Ethan Chi, and I’m your Secretary for 2017-2018! I live in sunny Cupertino, California, minutes away from tech companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook. I’m a homeschooled senior who’s planning to major in computational linguistics and music. I’m very active in my local 4-H club, where I’m a teen leader in the Food & Nutrition, Science, Beekeeping, and Music projects. I also really love music: I play piano, violin, and cello, and last year, I started playing the pipe organ. One more thing about me is that I’m currently preparing for my black belt exam in Taekwondo!

I’ve been participating in state horticulture competitions for a couple years now. My first NJHA convention was Erie 2016, where I won second place in the Horticulture ID competition, as well as Grand National in the Extemporaneous Speaking category. It was an eye-opening and fantastic experience meeting NJHA’ers from all over the United States, from New Mexico to Wisconsin to Massachusetts. I truly enjoyed the experience and decided to come back for Indianapolis 2017, where I went on to win Horticulture ID, Open Division!

As your Secretary, I’m planning to work together with the rest of the Officer Team to encourage participation, recruit new members, and bring back old ones. I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone else, both on the Officer Team and in NJHA, and I hope to see you all in St. Louis 2018!

Church, Sarah (New York) NJHA Eastern Director

Hi! My name is Sarah Church and I am serving as your Eastern Director for the 2017 year! I am a country girl from Northern New York, living 7 miles outside the nearest town, Gouverneur.
Horticulture has always been a huge part of my life, and I am super excited to be a part of this year’s National Officer team. I will do my best to serve to the fullest, my rank as an Officer.

2018 Western Director Angela Richards
Angela Richards

Richards, Angela M (California)  Western Director

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. Outside of academics, I am involved in the Theater Program, Treasurer of the Business Club, and the Student Council Representative for Off-Campus students. I have been a member of Alameda County 4-H for the past 12 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. This year, as the 2018 NJHA Western Director, 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.

2018 Past President Rachael Hammond
Rachael Hammond

Hammond, Rachel (Indiana) NJHA Past President

Howdy! My name is Rachel Hammond and I am serving as your NJHA Past President for the 2018 convention 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 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 sixth 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.

2018 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, Cultivated Ginseng and County 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 President of the Wisconsin State Grange and the Vice President of my local Grange chapter. 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 our 84th annual convention, held October 5 – 8, 2018 in St. Louis, MO. Plan on attending. You won’t want to miss it!

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