PLANT CITY – Two Plant City students who placed first in a local civic club’s speech contest will compete in the next level of competition April 17 in Mulberry.
Tomlin Middle School student Emma Poole and Plant City High student Blake Stafford earned the right to advance by winning the Plant City Optimist Club’s annual Oratorical Contest. They will compete on the next level against top finishers from Lakeland and Winter Haven.
A total of six local students took part in the Plant City club’s contest on Feb. 17. The students presented four- to five-minute speeches on this year’s theme, “How My Passions Impact The World,” to an audience of more than 50 people that included their family members.
Members of the Plant City Toastmasters’ judged the students on such factors as poise, content of speech, and delivery and presentation.
In the girls’ competition, Plant City High student Samantha Sun placed second; Plant City High student Esmeralda Barrera, third; and Tomlin Middle student Karley Drapp, fourth. Plant City High student Arie Fry placed second in the boys’ competition.
If Emma or Blake or both take first at the Mulberry competition, they can advance to the regional contest on May 3. The last phase of the competition, the North Florida District Finals, are May 10 and include a $2,500 college scholarship for the boy and girl who place first.
A Plant City club representative has won the North Florida District competition six of the last 13 years, including Jacob Rayburn, 2001; Caycee Hampton, 2002; Nathan Carson, 2008; Amanda Williamson, 2009; Mylie Feaster, 2011; and Jesse Bingham, 2012.
The Plant City club has sponsored the oratorical contest for more than 40 years.