On Friday November 15th, twenty-two students from seven Nassau County schools delivered their best speeches, in front of a live audience, competing as finalists in the annual 4-H Tropicana Public Speaking Program.
The students with the highest scores in 12 different categories each received a plaque for first through third place. Additionally, the first-place winners in each grade level also received a full scholarship to attend the week-long 4-H Cherry Lake summer sleepover camp.
Three judges from the community, including County Commissioner Justin Taylor, evaluated the competitors using a rigorous list of criteria including: choice of material, delivery, articulation, and audience bond.
The 4-H Florida Tropicana Public Speaking Program and Contest has been an annual Nassau County tradition for over twenty years. The county contest on Friday was the culmination of hundreds of hours of hard work, by students and teachers alike, in seven Nassau County elementary and middle schools. First, a total of 1,499 students prepared their speeches, under the guidance of teachers, using the curriculum provided by 4-H. The students then polished, revised and practiced delivering the speeches in front of their classes before competing with other students within their schools at the same grade level. Winning students advanced to the county competition.
The sixth-grade winners were first place, Gabriella Oldaker, from Callahan Middle School; second place, Emma Dillard, from Hilliard Middle School; third place, Kenneth Mathis, from Hilliard Middle School; and honorable mention, Kory Moser, from Callahan Middle School.
The fifth-grade winners were first place, Alyssa Neal, from Emma Love Hardee Elementary School; second place, Sadie Pouncey, from Wildlight Elementary School; third place, Vala Harrison, from Bryceville Elementary School.
The fourth-grade winners were first place, Jack Fagre, from Wildlight Elementary School; second place, Sara Carter, from Hilliard Middle School; third place, Duncan Chesler, from Wildlight Elementary School.