Cynthia Kinser got her first taste of public speaking at 4-H State Congress in the 1960s. On Monday, she returned to Virginia Tech to share her words of wisdom with Virginia 4-H’ers as the chief justice of the Virginia Supreme Court.
“I had just finished the eighth grade and was here to participate in a demonstration of my foods and nutrition project,” said Kinser, who recalled her demonstration on edible flowers to the 500 teens, volunteer leaders, and Extension agents at the 2011 4-H State Congress opening assembly. “I was fortunate to win the competition and remember sitting out there in the audience, hearing my name called as the winner, and walking across the stage.”
A native of Lee County, Kinser spoke to youth about her early experiences in Virginia 4-H and how she adopted its motto, “To make the best better,” as her own. “At that point in my life, I knew I wanted to be an attorney, but I truly never imagined that I would again be on this stage speaking to all of you as the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia,” she said.
Kinser also talked about the importance of citizenship and civic engagement. In 1998, the Virginia General Assembly elected Kinser to the Supreme Court of Virginia, and in 2010, she became the first woman to hold the title of chief justice on the court. She is a 4-H All Star and served as a founding member of the Virginia 4-H Foundation.