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Brenda Dimas-Lopez, an eighth grade student from Tar Heel Middle School, and Madison Cain, a seventh grade student from Clarkton School of Discovery, participated in the soil and water conservation State Level Public Speaking Contest in Raleigh on May 8th.

Brenda was one of six 8th grade contestants, and Madison was one of seven 7th grade contestants delivering a speech on “Wetlands are Wonderful” to five judges and an audience of more than sixty.

Students competing at this level have advanced through three and sometimes four tiers of competition before convening at the state’s capitol to represent their area against winners from across North Carolina.

First and second place winners are awarded $200 and $100, respectively, in addition to the certificates given to all participants for their hard work and dedication in reaching this level of competition.

Speeches must be from four to six minutes in length and demonstrate comprehensive subject knowledge, originality and the skillful use of facts. Contestants are also judged on appropriate body language, voice, diction and style.

Competition is so strong, winning students frequently do extensive research and weave general conservation measures and the work of the state’s 96 soil and water conservation districts into the body of their speech.

The speech contest is sponsored on the local level by soil and water conservation districts and their association, and organized at the state level by the N.C. Division of Soil and Water Conservation.

The speech contest is one of many educational opportunities offered throughout the year by the Bladen Soil and Water Conservation District. For information on local speech, essay and poster contests; an environmental science competition called the Envirothon; and educational field days, please call the Bladen District at 910-862-3179, ext 3.