Four students from the Cleveland and Bradley County school systems impressed and entertained the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland Thursday afternoon with their award-winning 4-H Public Speaking presentations.
UT Extension representative Janet Bunch provided background on 4-H and its local programs.
Approximately 150 local in-school 4-H clubs meet each month. Each grade level receives a different educational program. These include environment, communication, leadership and citizenship among others. Members are encouraged to join outside interests through 4-H like animal shows, animal projects and camps.
She assured Kiwanis members the young presenters are “the best of the best.”
Fourth-grade winner Seth Sausville, son of Paul and Sarah Sausville, of Michigan Avenue Elementary kicked off the speeches with a walk down recent memory lane.
A father-son trip took Seth and his dad to Niagara Falls with some family friends. The group set up camp near the falls for three days and two nights.
Fun ensued as Seth and his dad took on the local mini-golf course, the lake and an “amazing” zip line adventure.
“It was amazing to see the falls for the first time, and I got to see Canada with its tall, amazing towers,” Seth said before launching into a history of the falls.
He presented a history of the falls, and earned a roomful of laughs with his retelling of the various daredevils throughout history.
The fourth-grader said he was stunned at his first glimpse of the world-famous falls.
“I could see why people had been badly injured and even killed. I was astonished at how in the world people, and even a cat, go over Niagara Falls and survive,” Seth said. “It took me and my dad 1,700 miles to get to Niagara Falls and back, but it was worth every mile.”
Jeremiah Augustine, a fifth- grade student at Tennessee Christian Preparatory School and the son of Tim and Michelle Augustine, took his place before the crowd.
He leveled a steady stare at his seated crowd.
“The Heisman Trophy, a winning record, straight A’s, the fastest time, a perfect spiral throw, first place in your 4-H speech contest — what are some of your goals,” he asked the crowd. “We all have a list of hopes, dreams and goals, but how do we get to the final product?”
Jeremiah said the three P’s are needed: preparation, prayer and practice.
He shared how his father ran cross-country and track in high school. One week, his father placed third in a “down to the wire” finish. The next week, his father proved not only to be very confident, but too confident.
He ended up in eighth place due to poor preparation.
Jeremiah assured the Kiwanians following the three P’s faithfully would lead them to the desired outcome.
“Start with good preparation, knowing what it takes to achieve your goal. Then second, pray for wisdom and for God to guide your choices and decisions. And finally, keep practicing. Then repeat as needed,” Jeremiah said. “As long as you give your best to preparation, prayer and practice you will be successful.”
Ocoee Middle School sixth-grade student Elizabeth Eachus, the daughther of Michael and Victoria Eachus, informed the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland she is a Barbie Girl.
“One. Two. Three. Four. Five,” Elizabeth counted. “In the past five seconds, 10 Barbie Dolls have been sold. So that means, 172,800 are sold per day.”
She said the 11 and a half inch toy boasts annual sales of $1.3 billion. According to Elizabeth, it has been a Barbie world since 1959, when Ruth Handler invented the doll. This was impressive, she noted, because the toy radically changed a toy industry ruled by men.
Elizabeth said the blonde-haired toy has had over 130 careers since her creation. It was Handler’s intention young girls would have the opportunity to role play in preparation for their futures.
Unlike many who purport Barbie projects unrealistic physical expectations on young girls, Elizabeth believes the impact is nonexistent.
“Some critics blame Barbie for putting wrong emotional and psychological pressure on girls, making them think they need to grow up looking like Barbie,” Elizabeth said. “Come on, people, it’s a toy. No toy, whether Barbies, Legos, Play-doh or Hot Wheels, will influence my self-image, self-worth or self-esteem.”
Seventh-grader Jessica Potter, the daughter of Lori and Jamey, concluded the speeches with a petition for Kiwanians to join those who have read the Hunger Games trilogy.
“Most of you have probably heard of it, and a handful of you have probably seen the movies, but not all of you have read this fantastic series,” Potter said. “Although the movies were almost completely accurate, the books open up a part of the Hunger Games you didn’t see in the films.”
She teased Kiwanians who read the books will find out hidden gems like how Katniss really received the Mockingjay pin.
“Get ready,” Potter said. “And follow me into the post-apocalyptic world of the Hunger Games.”
She provided background information on the author Suzanne Collins, as well as a brief overview of books one and two.
With expressive facial expressions and wide eyes, Potter took her audience to the third book.
“Katniss has accepted her role as the face of the rebellion and she is fighting the capitol with all of her strength, but Snow is retaliating in unexpected ways. He has made it clear no one is safe — not Katniss’ family, not her friends, not even the innocent people of District 12,” Potter said. “Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment in the Hunger Games trilogy, ‘MockingJay,’ is a book you won’t want to put down.”