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Holmes students gear up for countywide 4-H/FPL Public Speaking Contest

Holmes County fourth, fifth and sixth graders are getting the chance to face what some would say is their biggest fear – public speaking.

The 4-H/FPL Public Speaking Contest is underway throughout the school district as students dig into reading, writing and public speaking outside of the usual classroom environment. Florida Power & Light joined 4-H last year as the statewide corporate sponsor of the program to provide competition winners with ribbons and medallions. The program has been in Florida schools since 1969.

Chris Lauen, Holmes County 4-H agent, said the kids were able to select a topic on anything they were passionate about to deliver a speech that’s humorous, serious, educational, inspiring or persuasive. Participating fourth, fifth and sixth grade teachers and guidance counselors worked with students on the elements of writing an essay then turning it into a platform to improve public speaking skills.

Students are getting practice researching their topic, organizing the information, practicing public speaking and critiquing their work. Competitions at the classroom level and school level are currently underway.

Ponce de Leon Elementary announced their classroom-level winners. Fourth grade winners in Miss Vann’s homeroom are Blayse Alford, first place; Cody Hewett, second place; and Nathan Watson, third place.

Speech winners from Mrs. White’s fourth grade homeroom are Lillian Locke, first place; Bear Blue Wright, second place; and Mackenzie Brant, third place.

Fifth grade speech winners in Mrs. Cobb’s homeroom are Jayden White, first place; Shaylee Battis, second place; and Dalton Ard, third place.

Speech winners in Mrs. Peterson’s fifth grade homeroom are Chloe Stapp, first place; Megan Sellers, second place; and Brystol Free, third place.

Fifth grade speech winners in Mrs. Rodriguez’s homeroom are Harlie Vanwagoner, first place; Aireona Keough, second place; and Trinity Wittke, third place.

Lauen said the competition is an opportunity for students to work not only on public speaking skills but also leadership and life skills that will serve them later on.

Friends and family of students competing in the district-wide 4-H/FPL Public Speaking Contest are invited to attend the competition Monday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. The event will be held at Carmel Assembly of God Church.

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