Missouri 4-H’ers compete at state public speaking contest

Cole County 4-H’er Eileen Shafer won first place for Technology Assisted Speaking in the senior age division at the 2021 State 4-H Public Speaking Contest

Missouri 4-H youths gathered on Sept. 25 on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia for the annual State 4-H Public Speaking Contest.

The contest is one of Missouri 4-H’s oldest and most popular traditions, said Samantha Brandeberry, MU Extension state 4-H educator.

This year, 39 young people representing 20 counties competed in several speaking categories, including traditionally prepared speaking, extemporaneous speaking, technology-assisted speeches, and interpretation.

“After a year of being virtual, 4-H’ers looked forward to attending an in-person State 4-H Public Speaking Contest,” Brandeberry said. One youth said that the best part of this year’s contest was “being able to see old friends, meet new ones and give (their) speech in person.”

The contest provides an opportunity to share skills, get feedback from judges, network with youths from across the state and hear speeches presented by their peers, Brandeberry said.

Awards were given for the top three speakers in each age division and category.

  • Intermediate Extemporaneous Speaking: Jaecy Heisey, Caldwell County, first place; Ali Huffstutter, St. Charles County, second place; Katlyn Miller, Warren County, third place.
  • Senior Extemporaneous Speaking: Kelsey Miller, Warren County, first place.
  • Junior Humorous Interpretation: Nolen Phillips, Lafayette County, first place.
  • Senior Humorous Interpretation: Kendall Krueth, Barton County, first place.
  • Intermediate Dramatic Interpretation: Brody Phillips, Lafayette County, first place.
  • Junior Technology-Assisted Speaking: Alex King, Buchanan County, first place.
  • Intermediate Technology-Assisted Speaking: Kasen Ahrens, Cape Girardeau County, first place; Alyssa Harris, Livingston County, second place.
  • Senior Technology-Assisted Speaking: Eileen Shafer, Cole County, first place; Izzy Hamner, Camden County, second place; Maddy McDowell, Lafayette County, third place.
  • Junior Prepared Speaking (two sets of winners): Mary Wright, Carroll County, first place; Mallory Hall, Johnson County, first place; Molly Wright, Carroll County, second place; Rayanna Harris, Livingston County, second place; Addison Honan, Nodaway County, third place; Tabitha Harris, Livingston County, third place.
  • Intermediate Prepared Speaking: Katy Wright, Carroll County, first place; Sophie Geppert, Callaway County, second place; Samantha Justice, Greene County, third place.
  • Senior Prepared Speaking: Andrew Shelton, Barton County, first place.

This year, for the first time, two competitors – Kelsey Miller of Warren County and Andrew Shelton of Barton County – were selected to represent Missouri 4-H in the national competition at the Western National Roundup, to be held Jan. 5-9, 2022, in Denver. The all-expense-paid trip is made possible by the Missouri 4-H Foundation, Brandeberry said.

Major support for Missouri 4-H Civic Engagement programs is provided by the Missouri 4-H Foundation in partnership with the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, Aaron and Erica Baker, Mary Davis, Dr. Robert E. “Bud” Hertzog, the Martz family, MFA Foundation, Miller Family Foundation, Missouri Pork Association, Dr. Marla J. Tobin and the Turner family.

National 4-H Week is Oct. 3-9. Missouri 4-H is a program of MU Extension. For more information, visit the 4-H website or contact your local MU Extension Center.