FARMINGTON — Farmington Lions Club conducted its annual Speak-Out at Mt. Blue High School on April 11.

As part of its mission, the Farmington Lions Club sponsors a public speaking contest for high schoolers in order to help them “think about important issues facing them and their community and the state of nation, organize their thoughts and ideas into a logical sequence, namely a prepared speech, and to express their ideas publicly and defend ideas when questioned.”

A small group of speakers participated with such topics as “Gender Gap in American Wages,” “PTSD with Our Veterans,” “Arming Our Teachers with Guns” and the “Effects of Art.” An audience was on hand to cheer the speakers, including Mt. Blue teacher Debby Muise, who has been coaching and mentoring the team since the program’s inception.

Three Lions judges, Michael Cook, Kelly Kading and Jeffrey Wright, deliberated for some time before determining a winner. Students were judged based on speech delivery as well as the speech writing, subject matter analysis and their impromptu responses to two questions from Lions interrogators, Colon Durrell and Tom Hagerstrom, based on the subject matter of their speeches. The time keeper was Lion Neal Yeaton.

Master of Ceremonies Lion Ron Cullenberg awarded prizes to each of the speakers: Talazen Smith, Kyla Morgan, Katie Holmes and Cailyn Correllus, with the first-place award going to Talazen Smith. Smith will represent Mt. Blue at the Lions annual District Convention competition Saturday, April 28, in Rockport.

The Farmington Lions Club conducted the Speak-Out competition at Mt. Blue High School. From left are Ron Cullenberg, Talazen Smith, Kyla Morgan, Katie Holmes, Debby Muise, Cailyn Correllus and Colon Durrell.

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