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Ardmore students step up to the mic

BONNYVILLE – Ardmore School students didn’t shy away from the spotlight during the annual Ardmore School 4-H Communications Day.

On Monday, Feb. 10, junior and intermediate level 4-H members gave speeches and made presentations on a wide variety of subjects to show off their communication skills.

“It’s a great opportunity for our 4-H members to get up in front of the public,” explained Evelyn Bourbeau, event organizer and general leader for the Ardmore School 4-H Club. “It’s not always easy, but no matter if they go to college, university, a trades school, or a job, they’re going to be asked to speak. They might be asked to present, and I think this is a really valuable skill that they teach in 4-H.”

Ardmore School principal Ken Pshyk agreed, “As a school, it’s a very important part, because the students learn how to communicate very well through speeches and presentations. It also gives them the confidence to be able to speak in front of crowds. We’ve had students call us back and suggest that because of the 4-H public speaking part, they were able to win an award or get a job. They felt that it helped them once they left our school.”

There were 18 students that made speeches, while 25 groups worked together to create presentations for the event. The topics covered included addiction, family vacations, why youth should play sports, and sewing.

Students were judged on eye contact, their voice projection, and enunciation when it was their turn.

“Communication is one of those things that really helps kids with public speaking, because it’s important to have that skill for when you go through high school and college,” noted Grade 7 student Adam Sawchuk.

When Grade 4 student Jessica Tetreau heard 4-H members could choose whatever subject they wanted to, she decided to make a presentation on ways to reduce plastic use.

“I picked that subject because I thought it was important to discuss the plastic issue in the world. A lot of animals are dying because of this and it’s really important to me,” she expressed.

During Sarah Grant’s speech, she used the tools she’s learned in 4-H to make sure her nerves didn’t get the best of her.

 “I generally get nervous when I’m up there. I stutter a bit, and I can’t speak,” the Grade 7 student said.

The students agreed Ardmore School offering 4-H is a bonus, and something they look forward to being part of.

“It’s fun,” expressed Grade 5 student Carter Hintz. “I get to meet new people, be part of the club, and work on stuff like public speaking that I’m not good at.”

At the end of the day, the presenters and judges gathered in the gym to learn who would be moving on to districts at the end of the month.

Hintz took first place in the junior category for speeches, while Alex M. came in second. The intermediate side saw Baylie J. claim the top spot and Xzavier L. finishing in second.

When it came to presentations, Autumn C. and Stella P. wowed the judges in the junior category and Mason T. was the runner-up. Lainey B. and Ava M. received the most points for intermediate, and Bella C. and Brooklyn G. came in second.

The first place winners from each category will take the stage at the Bonnyville District 4-H Communications Day on Feb. 23 at Ardmore School.

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle