LABELLE — The 31st annual 4-H/Tropicana Speech Contest took place at the LaBelle High School Auditorium on May 24. There were 21 fourth- and fifth-grade speakers and eight sixth-grade speakers.
In the fourth and fifth grade division: First place was awarded to Mackenzie Wills from Upthegrove Elementary School with her speech titled “I Get Knocked Down But I Get Up Again.” Second place went to Upthegrove Elementary School’s Carli Spencer with her speech titled “The Crack of the Bat.” Jaylin Velasquez of Central Elementary School achieved third place with her speech titled “First Day Mess Up.” Hatton Hurtz of Clewiston Christian School took honorable mention with his speech titled “Reading Rules.”
The Judges Choice Awards in the fourth and fifth grade: Most Humorous Award went to Aubrey Lopez (CES); Emorie Anderson (CES) received the Most Educational Award; Madison Alford (CES) was honored with the Most Original Award; Best Presentation of a Serious Issue was captured by Madison Atkinson (CES); and Most Inspirational went to Christopher Perez (WES).
In the sixth-grade division: Clewiston Christian School’s Peyton Grace Lee captured first place with her speech titled “The Life of a Teacher’s Kid.” Second place was awarded to Raelynn Paniagua of Clewiston Middle School with her speech titled “My Best Friend.” Placing third was Cari Anthony of Clewiston Christian School with her speech titled “Life Without Candy.” Mallori Davila of Clewiston Middle School took honorable mention with her speech titled “Music — the Universal Language.”
The Judges Choice Awards in the sixth-grade division: Most Educational Award went to Rahdrick Hughley (CMS); Jaiden Torres (LMS) captured the Most Educational Award; Avery Peck (LMS) received the Most Original Award; Olivia Branaman (CCS) captured the Best Presentation of a Serious Issue Award; and the Most Inspirational Award was taken by Raelynn Paniagua (CMS).
The winners of the speech contest received a wooden plaque containing the 4-H/Tropicana Speech emblem sponsored by Tropicana Products Inc. In addition to the plaques, first- through third-place winners were awarded cash awards in the amounts of $30, $20 and $10, respectively, sponsored by Hendry County 4-H. Furthermore, the first-place winners received a scholarship to attend 4-H Camp Cloverleaf in Lake Placid, June 11-15, sponsored by Tropicana Products Inc. The winners of the Judges Choice Awards received trophies sponsored by Hendry County 4-H.
To all of the 29 speakers, you did a fantastic job in presenting your speeches. To the school coordinators and teachers involved with the 4-H/Tropicana Speech Contest, you did an outstanding job in preparing your students for the school contest as well as for the county contest. Furthermore, thank you, parents, for getting your child to the competition and all the help you gave them. Many thanks to Jessica Bechtel, Jennifer Cosby and Megan Price for taking time from their busy schedules to serve as official judges. Last but not least, thank you to our sponsor, Tropicana Products Inc., for making this event possible as well as to Ryan Harris and the Hendry County School Board for allowing the contest to be held at LaBelle High School.