Public speaking may be difficult, but eight Meridian, Idaho, FFA members recently rocked their speeches!

These members competed in three different speaking competitions over a period of six days. Whether it’s prepared speaking or extemporaneous, Meridian FFA took the gold in speaking competitions. Members that competed in these events learned personal skills such as public speaking, quick thinking, confidence and sportsmanship.

On Jan. 18 at the Meridian High School Career Technical Center, the Farm Bureau Prepared Speaking contest took place. Eight Meridian FFA members competed, including Landon Bartlett, Madigan Grigsby, Grace Haws, Amy Heikkila, Ellie Higgins (5th place, $50 prize), Courtney Marshall (2nd place, $150 prize), Cassidey Plum (3rd place, $100 prize) and Ashton Shaul (1st place, $200 prize). Each member delivered a self-written speech following the topic of “Agriculture: The Engine That Pulls Idaho’s Economy.” Every participant did a fantastic job with their speeches, and Ashton Shaul will be continuing on to compete in Boise Valley District (BVD) Prepared Speaking Career Development Event (CDE). She is representing the Meridian FFA Chapter because of her outstanding 1st place speech, and Courtney Marshall will additionally be competing in the Farm Bureau District event.

At the Kuna Grange Speaking competition on Jan. 22, two Meridian FFA members participated in different events at the Kuna Grange event hall. Amy Heikkila competed in Prepared Speaking, while Ashton Shaul competed in Extemporaneous Speaking. Ashton won her event and the Amanda Reynolds Memorial Award. She will represent the Meridian FFA Chapter in the BVD Extemporaneous Speaking CDE. Both of these ladies did a fantastic job!

Finally, at the first annual Nampa Chamber of Commerce prepared speaking contest, three Meridian FFA members gave their prepared speeches. Amy Heikkila, Ellie Higgins and Ashton Shaul competed with three other FFA members from other chapters for the chance to give their speech at Ford Idaho Center. Ashton Shaul placed 1st and received a $100 prize. She also received the honor of presenting her speech at the Ford Idaho Center on Feb. 6.

Prepared speaking is a difficult skill that not many people are willing to try. The dedication of these individuals is definitely noticed, and the biggest congratulations should be given to all participants. We hope to see these members (plus more!) back next year to try their hand at public speaking again.

Thank you to the several panels of judges for each competition, the organizations who provided monetary donations, the advisors who dedicated their time to coaching students, and the members themselves who spent hours preparing their speeches. We hope you all compete again next year!

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