CMS student competes in state speech contest
Seventh-grader Cecelia Tucker did a brave thing recently, surpassing many adults who would shrink from taking on the challenge she faced. Tucker made a speech in Raleigh, competing against only a handful of other students. These students represented the best in the state, having been victorious at two previous speech contests.
The speech was titled “The Living Soil,” which is a challenge in itself. How does a student talk for 4 to 6 minutes about soil? The judges’ score sheet offers up to 20 points if contestants show “clear understanding of why this natural resource is important and explains how people can and should conserve this natural resource.” Tucker, speaking knowledgeably of nematodes and fungi, had obviously done her homework.
Students were judged on other points during their speeches such as poise, diction, enunciation, skillful use of facts and analogies, originality, organization and rapport with the audience. And, always, students must be aware of keeping within the 4 to 6 minute time frame since that can cost points, as can any mention of personal facts such as their name, school or hometown.
Tucker’s journey to Raleigh began in February when she won the speech contest offered by Haywood Soil and Water Conservation District. The district offers five separate contests each winter that culminate in Awards Night, where winners are awarded trophies and cash prizes. Seventh- and eighth-grade speech contestants actually do their speeches during the first part of Awards Night in front of the audience. First place winners advance to the area contest, sponsored by the Area 1 Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and area winners advance to state competition in May.
The state contest was held in the Archdale building in downtown Raleigh. It was sponsored by the North Carolina Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts with assistance from the Division of Soil and Water Conservation (N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services).
Haywood SWCD sponsored Tucker’s trip to Raleigh. Tucker, who received Honorable Mention, is the daughter of Greg and Amy Tucker who both teach in Haywood County Schools.
“I think it was a good experience for Celia,” said Amy Tucker. “One of the judges took the time to tell her what she did well and how to improve for next year. He was very nice. He said he expected to see her again next year because she was a natural speaker. What a wonderful thing to say.”
Gail Heathman is the education coordinator for Haywood Soil and Water Conservation District.