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Students speak out for 4-H honors

In January Unicoi County 4-H’ers learned skills of public speaking and effective communication and on Jan. 31, Calvary Baptist Church hosted the 2013 4-H County Public Speaking Contest.
This year over 600 students gave speeches in Unicoi County. This is an increase of approximately 100 students over last year. “The success of the 4-H Public Speaking Contest is a result of strong support from teachers who realize that public speaking skills are vital to preparing our students for the future,” said 4-H Extension Agent Ty Petty.
According to Petty, all 600 students are 4-H members and there are about 800 total in the county. The Unicoi County 4-H program meets once a month in the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th grade classes.
All of the first place winners from grades 4-7 took advantage of the opportunity to compete at the Upper 8 Public Speaking Contest Feb. 26 at the Hancock County Middle/High School. This competition featured contestants from 8 counties in upper East Tennessee.
The competitors that represented Unicoi County were: Jordan Bridges, 4th grade; Ashtan Vance, 5th grade; Jacob Williams, 6th grade and Alexis Harvey, 7th grade. The high school 4-H public speaking winners, Hannah Casey and Elisabeth Moughon, also competed in the Eastern Region 4-H Public Speaking Contest in Knoxville.
Not only did Unicoi County send students to compete, but the local 4-H chapter came back with some medals. Honored were: Jacob Williams, 6th grade – 3rd place; Ashtan Vance, 5th grade – 2nd Place Winner and Jordan Bridges, 4th grade – 1st Place Winner. Elisabeth Moughon also won 5th place in the 10th grade division out of 33 counties.
“It is a great honor for three Unicoi County students to place in the top three at the regional contest,” said Crystal Robertson, 4-H extension agent.
Over the past month, 4-H members have been baking bread for the annual 4-H breadbaking contest. Fourth graders bake cornmeal muffins, 5th and 6th graders bake biscuits, and 7th graders bake loaves of quick bread.
Later this month, the winners from each 4-H Club will compete for the county championship by demonstrating their baking skills in front of a team of judges and following proper food safety guidelines.
In May 4th-7th grade teams compete in the Annual 4-H Clover Bowl Contest. Teams of four students from each 4-H Club will “buzz in” and answer questions about Tennessee, agriculture, environment, 4-H facts, and family and consumer science, like a game show on television. The winning team from each grade will qualify to represent Unicoi County at the Eastern Region 4-H Clover Bowl Championship at The University of Tennessee. Unicoi County teams have had a lot of success in the Regional 4-H Clover Bowl Contest with two champion teams over the last three years.
4-H is a community of more than 7 million young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. The Unicoi County 4-H program is part of the 4-H Youth Development Program and its parent, the Cooperative Extension System of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.