Seniors at Grove High School, Riley and Tessa DuBois joke people often mix them up.

The daughters of Rick and Gayle DuBois and Bruce and LuAnn DuBois, respectively, have grown up together - as cousins and as members of the Starr 4-H Club.

Earlier this month, the pair added another accolade to their resumes, when they were jointly inducted into the Delaware County 4-H Hall of Fame.

Riley has been a member of 4-H for 11 years, while Tessa has been a member for nine years.

Both have served as officers at the county level. In 2016-17 Tessa was president, while Riley was vice president. In the upcoming year, they will switch roles with Riley serving as president and Tessa as vice president of the youth leadership team.

The 4-H Hall of Fame honors, at the county level, include recognition of their respective state record books, their completed project work, as well as citizenship and leadership honors. 

In Delaware County, the 4-H Hall of Fame is sponsored by Delaware County Special Judge Alicia Littlefield and her husband former Senator Rick Littlefield. As part of the honor, Riley and Tessa's portraits will hang in the Delaware County Courthouse for the upcoming year.

Both Riley and Tessa said its an honor to be inducted into the hall of fame.

"It means that all of my hard work, my time, and my love for 4-H has paid off, as this is the highest honor I can receive in the county," Riley said.

Tessa agreed.

"It is a dream come true," she said. "Ever since my first awards banquet, I have dream of one day winning this award."

Both said taking part in 4-H with their cousin has been special.

"Tessa and I are different in many ways but 4-H is one of the interests we have in common," Riley said. "Being an only child, Tessa is the closest thing I have to a sister. We have had a lot of fun and made a lot of memories at 4-H activities.

"Even though we have very different project areas, it's been nice to know I had someone who would go with me places because of 4-H. She attended Dairy Cow Camp with me for two years, because I didn't want to go by myself, even though dairy has never been one of her project areas."

Tessa agreed, saying sharing 4-H with Riley has been an "incredible experience."

"We have made so many memories together and grown in our leadership abilities together. We have attended cow camp and visited the state capital together," Tessa said. "We have performed in duets, small groups, and large groups acts at Share-the-Fun. Most importantly, we have cheered each other on in our project work and have been happy for one another’s successes."

More about Riley

Riley is the daughter of Rick and Gayle DuBois and the granddaughter of Linda DuBois and the late Ed DuBois of Grove, Dean and Marlene Fisher of Afton

She joined 4-H after attending a Share the Fun event at the county level.

"I thought it looked like fun, so I joined," Riley said.

She's stayed with the program for 11 years because of its options.

"When I would decide a project area wasn't something I wanted to do any longer, there was always something else I could do," Riley said. "I didn't have to leave the 4-H program."

She's taken part in a variety of projects, including beef, dairy, veterinary science, photography, personal development, performing arts and sewing.

Her current projects include dairy, photography, personal development and performing arts.

"I love all my project areas," Riley said. "Dairy has been my main project area, and I love my cows.

"I love dairy products and I love promoting the dairy industry."

Riley said 4-H has taught her how to deal with people, with a variety of personalities.

"My cows all have different personalities, just like people," Riley said. "What works for one, may not work for another, which can be applied to working with people. I constantly have to change up the way I work with them, because of their differences.

"This has taught me to be more flexible when working with people in groups, as I am able to try to see things from a different point of view, and maybe able to see that someone's reluctance may not be because they do not want to do something, but could come from something like fear."

Riley said one thing she loves about 4-H is how everyone she comes into contact with "truly wants the 4-Her to do well."

"Whether it's adults or other 4-H members, everyone is encouraging," Riley said, adding she tells younger members to stay in 4-H, because "[While] there will always be other clubs that have something to offer, 4-H [allows] you to do everything those clubs will allow you to do and more. 4-H is not limiting."

Riley said 4-H has been an important part of her life.

"It is hard for me to determine how it has impacted my life because I don't remember much about my life before 4-H," Riley said.

She said two 4-H leaders stand out in her experience: Debbie Gaines and Charlotte Carnes.

"[Debbie] taught me how to put together the best record book I could and made sure that I documented everything that I did with my project areas, as she wanted me to be able to turn in a state record book when I was old enough," Riley said. "She taught me that nothing is too small to go in the record book and that things I do everyday are part of my project areas, even if it's feeding my cows.

"Because of the things Debbie taught me, I won a state Dairy Project award with my state record book.

"Charlotte is in charge of the dairy show at the county fair, and has been for many years. The first year I showed my dairy heifer, Charlotte had someone come and show me how to do showmanship, even though I would be showing against her grandchildren. She wanted me to be able to do my best - and I did win showmanship that year."

Riley said winning the state Dairy Project award, and being on stage at "Round-Up" to accept it, is a highlight of her 4-H career.

"This shows my dedication to my dairy project was good enough to be recognized at the state level," Riley said. "There are very few people who turn in state record books and only three in each project area are chosen for interviews every year, and only one winner.

"It makes me proud to know that I competed against other 4-Her's across the state and my work was seen as the best."

More about Tessa

Tessa is the daughter of Bruce and LuAnn DuBois and the granddaughter of Kay Beauchamp and the late Eugene H. Beauchamp and Linda DuBois and the late Ed DuBois, all of Grove.

A member of 4-H for nine years, Tessa jokes she joined because of her mom and Riley's influence.

"It has been the best organization I have been a part of over the years," Tessa said. "It lets me grow and do the things I love."

During the years, Tessa has been involved in citizenship, leadership, entomology, photography and visual arts.

She said entomology - or the study of bugs - has been her favorite project.

"I am extremely passionate about all of my project areas, but Entomology is the field I plan to pursue in college and do the rest of my life," Tessa said.

Through the years, Tessa said 4-H has taught her how to lead and make a difference in the lives of others.

"My citizenship project work has let me help the Christian HELP Center, the Second Chance Pet Rescue, and the Ronald McDonald House of the Four States."

Ultimately, Tessa said, she will remember the "amazing friends" she's made through her 4-H experiences.

"I encourage younger members to join because it is fun, and I encourage them to stay in because they can build a great resume for college with all their activities while having fun," Tessa said.

In her life, 4-H, Tessa said, has helped her identify her future career path.

"It led me to Entomology," Tessa said. "Without 4-H, I may have never found what I want to spend my life doing."

Tessa said her mother has been one of the leaders who stand out in her experiences.

"She pushed me to be better every day and to play an active role in my club and county," she said, adding that being picked for the Hall of Fame is the honor she will remember most.

She said through it all, there have been a lot of leaders - at the local and county level who have encouraged her career path in 4-H.

Those leaders include Barbara Denny, Debbie Gaines, Ronnie Sue O’Herin, Amber and Jake Whitlock, Lora Hicks, Gayle DuBois, Gus Holland and Amy O’Bryan.

One thing with Riley

One person who inspires you

Kara Chandler. She may be younger than me, but her enthusiasm and her passion for 4-H and all it has to offer is contagious.

One book that's stuck with you

The Nancy Drew Series. Nancy is smart, resourceful and awesome.

One thing that might surprise people 

Even though I seem quiet, I enjoy performing on stage and I like talking to groups of people.

One thing you can't live without

Books. Because fiction is better than real life.

One piece of advice that's stuck with you / shaped your life

You have a light and peace inside of you, if you let it out, you can change the world around you. - Uncle Ira (Avatar: The Last Airbender). This reminds me of the 4-H motto "To make the best better" and is something I try to live by.

One thing with Tessa

One person who inspires you

I recently researched Eunice Kennedy Shriver for a school project. I am so impressed by what she accomplished with the founding of the Special Olympics.

One book that's stuck with you

Tuesdays with Morrie – it makes you think about how you are living your life.

One thing that might surprise people

People that don’t know me are surprised to learn that it run towards bugs, not away from them.

One thing you can't live without

Potatoes - fried, baked, mashed, in a casserole, or all of the above in one setting

One piece of advice that's stuck with you / shaped your life

Every person you meet you should ask how they are doing and genuinely mean the question. You never know what’s going on in someone else’s life, and it could be one of the only kind experiences they have that day.