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Exeter FFA puts public speaking to practice

Exeter FFA puts public speaking to practice

Exeter High School chapter members compete at Sequoia Speaking Competition Feb. 7 in Tulare

By Lauren McEwen
Exeter FFA Chapter Reporter

TULARE – The National FFA Organization boasts a variety of career development events, activities that prepare its members for the most critical and crucial futures America’s society may pose. 

These Career Development Events (CDEs) include anything from enhancing leadership skills to developing necessary communication techniques. One of the most notable events includes public speaking, a task that is much more easily said than done. Eleven Exeter FFA members participated in the Sequoia Speaking Competition held at Tulare’s Mission Oak High School on Feb. 7, 2019. The event, a sectional contest, tested the abilities of the high schoolers’ public speaking skills. 

There were several different categories in which designated grades could compete. Freshmen recited the FFA Creed, a decades old document written by E.M. Tiffany on the importance of agricultural education which also serves as a foundation to the National FFA Organization’s purposes and mission statement. Jazmin Gaytan, Marcedalia Pimentel-Perez, Kirsten Franks, and Bianca Sandoval, coached by student teacher Riley Nilsen, recited the FFA Creed, and were then asked a series of questions regarding the future of agriculture, vocabulary and diction used in the creed.

Sophomores Madison Butler, Lauren McEwen, and Andrea Contreras competed in Impromptu Speaking, a challenging but integral competition which influences and prepares students for thinking and speaking instantaneously. Competitors, who are faced by a panel of judges, choose a topic, question, or keyword randomly, and are given one minute to prepare. After their time is up, the student has two minutes to present their topic. Madison Butler placed second in the sectional competition, and will be competing at the regional level in March. 

Members who participated in impromptu speaking learned the value of quick, precise thinking. Having the ability to produce ideas into speech clearly is a fundamental skill which these students have learned how to use effectively.

Juniors and seniors who participated in the speaking contest competed under the Job Interview or Prepared Speaking categories. Percy Roberts, Grace Jardon, Mayalina Puerner, and Mattie Fry competed under job interview. This competition allows its participants to utilize online resources to prepare for a mock interview. 

Mayalina Puerner placed fifth, and Percy Roberts placed fourth in the competition. Roberts will also compete at the regional level in March. Additionally, Hayli Limon presented a prepared speech on the rise of farmer suicide rates. In the Prepared Speaking contest, students research and write an eight minute speech about a current agriculture topic. The speech must be informative and innovative, and the individual is scored by a panel of judges based on the composition, content and delivery of the presentation.

The eleven students of the Exeter FFA Chapter who competed at the Sequoia Speaking Contest discovered the value of public speaking. Through productive and punctual practices, the FFA members have developed vital communication and presentation skills that ensure a positive outcome in the nation’s working society.

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