Four young speakers from Bradley County schools’ 4-H clubs presented their contest-winning speeches at the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland’s weekly luncheon.
Lynne Middleton, the University of Tennessee’s 4-H Clubs extension agent for Bradley County, said the four students who presented were the very best in this year’s 4-H public speaking contest.
“The purpose of 4-H is to educate youth through life skills development and hands-on activities,” Middleton said.
She said there are a total of 162 clubs in Bradley County with a total of 3,400 members. This year’s public speaking contest attracted 2,800 students. The overall winners were Julie Bryant, Jessica Potter, Gaby Burse and Delaney Stone.
Each student spoke on a topic of special interest to them. Each held note cards as prompters in case they lost their train of thought. Chris Newman, Kiwanis president, noted how the presenters did not seem to need their notes at all.
“We know all of the practicing, memorization and constructive criticism which go into the final project we saw today,” Newman said.
“I am most impressed by the little to no use of your note cards. For as long as you spoke, that shows dedication, commitment, perseverance and memorization of your subject matter.”
Continued Newman, “The toughest thing to do is get in front of a crowd and speak on anything for any amount of time.”
He said the club’s mission to serve the children of the world starts in Bradley County and Cleveland.
“You are great ambassadors for our community,” Newman said.
Julie, daughter of Jack and Michelle Bryant and a student at Michigan Avenue Elementary, spoke on donating her hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. She also pointed out the importance of annual check-ups for females, like mammograms.
She said her grandmother succumbed to breast cancer a couple years ago.
“When I was eight-years-old my grandmother, who I called Ma, was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Julie said. “After her first dose of chemotherapy Ma’s beautiful blonde hair began to fall out. This was traumatic for both Ma and me.”
Continued Julie, “Fortunately, Ma was able to purchase a wig. This made it easier for me to be around her and it made her feel normal.”
She gave several disturbing facts to the attentive Kiwanis members.
“More than 750,000 American women will be diagnosed with cancer in 2013. One of three women will have some sort of cancer in her lifetime,” Julie said. “Your involvement is critical.”
Delaney Stone, daughter of Scott and Kim Stone and a student at Waterville Elementary school, spoke on her trip to space camp and filled in her audience with details from the trip.
“We were finally headed to the U.S. Space and Rockets Center for space camp in Huntsville, Ala.,” Delaney said.
She encouraged the Kiwanis club to learn more about space and attend a camp.
Gaby Burse, daughter of Vince and Gail Burse and a student at Ocoee Middle School, recited a poem written by American Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson.
The poem lasted more than a minute. Burse managed to recite every word without looking down at her note cards. Following the poem, Burse gave her expectant audience a glimpse into Johnson’s life through a brief biography.
“She announced at the 2012 Olympic trials she would be retiring due to her long-term knee injury,” Burse said.
Jessica Potter, daughter of Jamey and Lori Potter and a student at Ocoee Middle School, used her presentation as an opportunity to encourage her listeners to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy and “The Hobbit.”
Included in her presentation were various hand gestures, like when she pantomimed a swinging sword. Potter entertained her audience through altering the tempo of her words as well as her expressions during her presentation.
“I have read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I want all of you to be able to say that, too,” Potter said. “I can honestly say this series is beautifully written and seamlessly suspenseful. If you pick up a copy you won’t want to put it down.”