On Friday, the residents at Gardenside Long Term Care in Fairbury received a special visit from nine Meridian Students who performed their speeches on what it means to be a hero.
Shawn Pohlmann, who helped to organize the visit, explained that he was grateful for the opportunity for the students from Meridian to practice their speeches in front of an audience. He stated that this will help students later in life, as well as with a special contest in which they are participating.
“It’s a modern Woodman Contest the whole fifth and sixth, and seventh and eighth grade classes are competing in,” said Pohlmann. “They basically have to write speeches for four years. In fifth and sixth grade, they present their speeches from the class, and we choose the top five out of each grade and have a judged competition. The judges pick the top three speeches from those 10 to move on to the regional competition.
“This is a great experience for them,” Pohlmann continued. “Even though they aren’t all moving on, the top three that are, this will help prepare them for the next step.”
The students who participated in the event at Gardenside included Evelyn Woitalewicz, Kailyn Paul, Hayden Heckman, Shanesah Burkhart, Kymber Schwisow, Bailey Holtmeier, Blayne Schelbitzki, Jaslyn Ward and Raeannah Stromer. Schwisow, Schelbitzki and Heckman qualified to compete in the regional competition in Hebron.
Here is a video clip of Hayden Heckman performing a portion of his speech on heroes:
Pohlmann believes that having Meridian students participate in the contest every year helps them in a number of ways.
“I think it helps them to learn how to write, first of all, because they’re learning about writing processes and grammar.” Pohlmann said. “It also helps them learn about public speaking. I’ve had a lot of students who were afraid to get up in front of an audience to speak, so having them present to their class and people in the community helps them to overcome that fear. Overall, they learn how to have more self confidence.”