Blue ribbon for public speaking very rewarding

Abby Hudgins wears some of the 4-H public speaking medals she has won through the years, as she holds the one that started it all — a red ribbon she earned at her first contest in fourth grade.

Many people dread public speaking, but I have grown to love the 4-H Public Speaking Contest.

In fourth grade, I found out 4-H was alot of fun.I don’t really have many other memories of 4-H in fourth grade, but the one thing that has stuck out forever

in my memory was the fact
I received a red ribbon in the speaking contest. I was disappointed that I didn’t place higher, but I remember Staci Foy told me, “You had a really good speech.”

I decided I would try again and push harder in fifth grade. I wanted to advance in my speech. I wrote my speech and presented it. As each place was announced,

I grew more excited and nervous.

Finally, the second-place winners were done being called and I realized I had won a purple ribbon. My head was spinning with excitement, and I just felt so accomplished.

The night came to give my speech at the county level.
I earned a blue ribbon. My family and I went to McDonald’s afterwards to celebrate with ice cream.

Next year during my sixth grade year, I wanted to see
if I could reach the county level again. I did. That was

when the 4-H speech became our new family tradition.

In seventh grade, I went farther and received my first- place medal and ribbon at the county level. Then I received a green ribbon at sub-regionals. I was disappointed that I didn’t place at sub-regionals, but learned from my mistakes and would not give up.

In eighth grade, I received my first-place medal and rib- bon at county, and won third place at sub-regionals. I kept progressing each year. The 4-H Speaking Contest was a tradition that I looked forward to every year.

Things changed during my ninth-grade year. There was not a school or county contest. Only regionals. I prepared my speech and my mom and I traveled to the competition. In addition to giving my prepared speech, I also had to do a one-minute extemporaneous speech. I was thrilled to come in third place.

As I am growing older, my writing and speaking skills have become stronger each year. I have learned techniques to help me improve. 4-H has helped me be a better speaker and given me perseverance to keep trying to get my desired goal. I have loved every con- test. I don’t think I would have ever really discovered my love for public speaking or present- ing in front of others had it not been for 4-H.

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