Conquering the fear of public speaking

According to Forbes magazine, about 10% of the American population loves public speaking. That leaves the rest of us with sweaty palms, nervous stomachs and quaking knees at just the thought of speaking in front of an audience. School board member, Susan Roberts, said public speaking is “…one of the most important skills our students can learn….”  Mrs. Roberts is right; the fear of public speaking can negatively impact wages, college graduation and promotion to management or leadership positions, and employees routinely state the ability to communicate is the number one job skill they want in new hires.

The 4-H Tropicana Public Speaking Program for 4th, 5th and 6th graders works to resolve that issue through teaching students how to select and research a topic then present it to their classroom. Students compete on the classroom level to advance to school grade level competition, then county competition.

Twenty-seven of the best speakers from Washington County’s schools competed for grade level awards at the county contest hosted by UF/IFAS Extension Washington County 4-H.  Winners received a plaque sponsored by Pepsico/Tropicana, and first place winners earned a $250 4-H Camp Timpoochee scholarship.

4th Grade:

1st place – Aiden Wheeler

2nd place – Jonathan Grantham

3rd place – Kinsleigh Hunter

Honorable Mention – Jace Brown

4th Grade Winners

5th Grade:

1st place – Ava Johns

2nd place – Isabela Thornton

3rd place – Jacob Poppell

Honorable Mention – Alice Kopp

5th Grade Winners

6th Grade:

1st place – Marissa Rodriguez

2nd place – Riley Nelson

3rd place – J’zohnna Kelly

Honorable Mention – Sarah Bush

6th Grade Winners

For more information on 4-H in Washington County, contact 4-H Agent, Julie Pigott Dillard, at or 850-638-6180.