Manatee County students in grades six through 12 were eligible to compete in the annual Farm City Week Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District (MRSWCD) speech contest on November 7th. Designed to develop leadership through participation in public speaking activities and to stimulate interest in conserving our natural resources, the topic selected by the National Association of Conservation Districts this year was “One Water” celebrating our watersheds.
Students submitted written transcripts of their speech and then shared information with the audience in 5-7 minute speeches.
Rylee Skillman, a Parrish Community High School FFA student taught by Caitlyn Greene, won the competition which qualifies her to compete in an Association of Florida Conservation Districts area contest to be held in the next year. Skillman was awarded a check for $150 by the MRSWCD for her first place finish.
Placing second and awarded $100 was Haile Middle School FFA student Sophia Gagliano, taught by Jessica Jones. Gagliano received a ribbon in addition to a certificate, to recognize her for placing 2nd overall and first among middle school students.
Third place was awarded to Alexandra Ryherd, a Palmetto High School FFA student taught by Julie Tillett. Ryherd received $75.
Contestants attended and were recognized at the Agricultural Hall of Fame Luncheon in Palmetto during the same week.
As a participating teacher, Parrish Community High School FFA teacher Caitlyn Greene won the random drawing for a $50 gift certificate to purchase educational supplies for her classroom.
Judges were Robert Zeliff, Manatee Farms; Jack Creighton, retired District Conservationist with USDA/NRCS; and Christine Russo, Commercial Horticulture Agent with UF/IFAS Extension Service Manatee County.