Winnebago County 4-H Kicks Off Summer Contests with Public Speaking


Winnebago County 4-H held its first in-person 4-H contest on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at Toni’s of Winnebago Event Center.  Seven area youth presented speeches on a wide variety of topics from Formal Speeches, Illustrated Speeches and including Oral Interpretations.  “The kids did an excellent job presenting.  It was obvious they had rehearsed and demonstrated passion for their topics, “ stated Becky Gocken, Extension Program Coordinator for Winnebago County 4-H Youth & Development.

Rachel Medearis, language arts teacher for 20 years, 4-H alumni and previous 4-H leader provided feedback and judging.  “Attendance was great and socially distanced.  We found out that there are over 70 new 4-H members in Winnebago County this year!  We had great fun with all presenters as they found ways to get us interested in their topics.  What exceptional effort put forth by all!  I had never seen so many confident, practiced, exceptional speakers in one setting!”

Jackson Klinger of the Centerville Knot Ketchers 4-H Club earned the Champion ribbon, award and State Fair Delegate for his Oral Interpretation of Abbott & Costello’s, “Who’s on First.”  Makenzy Zimmerman of the Seward Determination 4-H Club earned the Reserve Champion ribbon and State Fair Delegate for her Formal Speech titled, “Recognizing Special.”  Kiera Brown of the Clover Crusaders 4-H Club also received State Fair Delegate for her Illustrated Speech, “How do Fast Food Chains Define Fresh?”  Additionally Luke Zimmerman and Kathleen Harrington are State Fair Alternates.  Jackson, Makenzy and Kiera will travel to the State Public Speaking Contest on June 5 in Decatur, IL.  Luke Zimmerman, Helena Bageanis, Kathleen Harrington and Jocelyn Torres earned blue ribbons for their presentations. 

Winnebago- Boone County Farm Bureau manager, Ann Marie Cain presented two incentive gifts to Makenzy and Luke Zimmerman for participating in both the 4-H & Farm Bureau Public Speaking Virtual Training held on January 9, 2021 and the Public Speaking Contest.  The members received a leather portfolio.

Winnebago County Extension would like to extend our appreciation to Toni’s of Winnebago for the use of their event space.  COVID-19 social distancing and safety practices requirements were reflected from the Illinois Department of Public Health and University of Illinois event guidelines during the contest.

About 4-H: Illinois 4-H strives to help youth learn skills for living. 4-H programs are offered in every Illinois county by University of Illinois Extension. Illinois 4-H aims to impact the lives of 250,000 youth each year through sustained learning clubs and groups and short-term programming. 4-H is a community of seven million young people around the world learning leadership, citizenship, & life skills. For more information, contact University of Illinois Extension-Winnebago County at 815-986-4357.

youth holding up ribbons
Group- Seven 4-H members from across Winnebago County presented at the Winnebago County 4-H Public Speaking Contest held at Toni’s of Winnebago Event Center
young adult presenting a speech
Jack- Jackson Klinger of the Centerville Knot Ketchers 4-H Club earned Champion and State Fair Delegate for his rendition of Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s on First”