Standing with Franklin County Extension Agent Erik Lovestrand are, from left: sixth grade runner-up Kairi Trest; fourth-fifth runner-up Joshua Allen; sixth grade winner Myleigh Beasley; fourth-fifth winner Kami Poloronis; fourth-fifth third place Aurora Still; and sixth grade third place Macie Braswell. [ Michelle Huber | Contributed ]
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Young voices conquer speech contest

What do a Greek scientist, spiders, candlemaking, and fun stuff to do in Michigan all have in common?

They were all among the many topics for speeches given by Franklin County fourth, fifth and sixth graders at the annual 4-H Public Speaking Competition conducted March 22 at the UF IFAS Extension Building in Apalachicola.

Twelve fourth and fifth graders, from the county’s three schools and homeschoolers, competed in the young bracket, while nine sixth graders in the older bracket in the morning-long event.

Each had two to three minutes to deliver the remarks they had worked on, and had been successful at as they worked their way up through the classroom and schoolwide levels.

Franklin County Extension Director Erik Lovestrand, and Program Assistant Michelle Huber oversaw the competition, with plenty of parents in the audience at the office adjacent to the Mill Pond marina.

In the younger bracket, Apalachicola Bay Charter School student Kami Poloronis, who had placed third in the schoolwide competition, took home the top prize, with her speech on “Making The World A Better Place.”

Joshua Allen, who had been tops among homeschooled students, earned second place with his speech on “Archimedes and his Inventions, while place Aurora Still, who had been runner-up among homeschooled kids, finished third with her speech on “Kids Are Capable.”

In the sixth grade division, the Franklin County School’s Myleigh Beasley, who had been first in the schoolwide competition, won the district with her speech on “Why Do Grades Matter?”

Kairi Trest, who had been second at the First Baptist Christian School’s competition, was runner up in the district with her remarks on “Amazing Arachnids,” and her schoolmate, Macie Braswell, who had finished second at FBCS, earned a third place in the district with her speech on “The Mauretania.”

Among the many students who competed, in the fourth and fifth grade division, were ABC School winner Kai Rodriguez, who spoke on “Apalachicola,” and ABC School runner-up Gannon Poloronis, who talked about “Baseball.”

From the Franklin County Schools were the schoolwide winner Thea Croom, who talked about “Sweet Summer;” school runner-up Jazzy Aguirre, who spoke on “Fennec Foxes:” and the school’s third place finisher, Hannah Ward, who addressed “What We Do in Michigan.”

From First Baptist, school winner Logan Gormley, spoke on “Kaiserreich;” school runner-up Emma Babbs talked on “How To Bake A Cake;” and school third place finisher Aubrie Gaskill addressed “The Art of Candle Making.”

Rounding out the participants in the younger division was Lailah Wayt, who had been third among homeschoolers, with a speech on “Papillon.”

The other students who took part in the sixth grade competition, were the ABC School winner, Kenslyn Bramblett, who talked on “Hurricane Katrina:” the school’s runner-up Andie Chambers, who spoke about “Dolphins;” and the school’s third place finisher Raul Bernabe, who spoke on “Cristiano Ronaldo.”

From the Franklin County School, Anthonella Croom, who had been runner-up at the school, spoke on “Ways to Prevent Red 40;” and Aubree Brown, who was third schoolwide,” talked about “Money.” Emma Acree, who won the homeschooler competition, gave a speech called “Last Year.”

Winners from the district now move on to compete against other county winners in the regional competition, funded in partnership with the Florida 4-H Foundation and Florida Power & Light Company.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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