Students ‘speak up’ with 4-H

Published 7:45 pm Thursday, April 7, 2011

Speak-Up Chilton County was held the last five weeks to help students improve their public speaking skills. Shown with teacher Skip Coulter and event coordinator Joan McGriff are participants Noah Bittle, Ivey Kate Vinson, Lairreun Reed, Lairbreun Reed, Josie Grimes, Kindred Pilling, Emily Burkhalter. Catherine Staffney and Clay Vinson.

One of the greatest fears humans hold is that of public speaking. One local club made it a goal to help remedy that fear for a group of fifth and sixth graders.

“Speak Up Chilton County” was a five-week after school program to help educate students about public speaking.

Event coordinator Joan McGriff said the program was designed not only to spark students’ interest about public speaking but also to help re-educate the community about 4-H as well.

“It’s something we [did] to get 4-H back in the community,” she said. “We [had] five total sessions, and the students were given a different [speech] topic each week.”

The topics included a speech on themselves, an information how-to speech, and a descriptive speech on the most unforgettable family member they have. Participants also gave persuasive speeches.

The class was led by Skip Coulter, who has more than 20 years of related experience as Samford University’s debate coach and a speech teacher in the Mountain Brook school system.

Each class was held from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays, and McGriff said she was pleased with the turnout of 10 considering that baseball and other sports were in full swing.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” she said. “We had about seven fifth graders, and we had a surprising number of home schooled children.”

McGriff also said there were plans to have summer workshops to help get students interested in the class, and in 4-H.
For more information on the class and other 4-H enrichment programs, contact the Chilton County Extension at 280-6268.