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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Public Speaking Competition

Last night was our annual 4H public Speaking Competition. This is a competition where the kids get up in front of parents, friends, 4-H'ers, and a panel of judges, to give a speech or demonstration about a topic. Those kids who are 13 years old or older are required to speak for five to eight minutes, while the younger ones are required to speak for three to five minutes. They are judged on how effectively they communicate their topic. The judges are also given an opportunity to question the speakers to determine how well they think on their feet. We had seven youth from our club participate and ten from the other 4H club in town. We started at 7 PM and didn't finish until nearly 10PM!

Abby was a senior presenter this year and she chose a difficult topic to present: What Christians Should Be Thinking About. She did a fantastic job and probably would have won except that she spoke too quickly and missed the time requirement by 20 seconds.

Nathalie spoke on Backyard Stargazing for her last year as a junior speaker. She did a great job and won for the Junior speeches category. This means she goes on to the county level to compete. While the county junior winners do not compete at the state level, they still get to go to the competition in Hartford and present their speech in front of the legislature with the seniors!

Hannah did a demonstration on the heart and lungs. She made a working model of the lungs using a soda bottle, PVC pipe, balloons, extra tubing from our tree tapping, a hose "Y" connector, and "lots of tape"! She did a great job but needs to speak with a more assertive voice. She showed that she really knew her stuff during the questioning portion.

Rachel and Samantha competed for the first time this year. Rachel was too afraid last year to speak even though she had prepared a speech. Rachel and Samantha both wrote their own speeches and we let them control the length, not requiring them to have the competition limits. Rachel spoke on breeds of horses and her speech was nearly two minutes long. Samantha spoke on cows for about 45 seconds. The judges remarked on how poised and confident they were at such a young age. I am sure next year they will work on making their speeches longer.

Grace and Nan (members of our club) also participated this year. Grace demonstrated how to show a chicken. She used her rooster, "Littlekins", as part of her demonstration. The chicken behaved very well, for a chicken, and Grace did a superb job of keeping her cool and spoke with confidence and clarity. Nan did a spontaneous and "off the cuff" speech on baking apples. While she didn't meet the time requirements, she too expressed herself extremely well and with confidence.

I, of course, forgot my camera...
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