Eight weeks ago, it would never have occurred to Shelburne resident, Caroline Jones, to enter a speech competition. However, while talking to the teen coordinator of the Miss Vermont Scholarship Organization, Cookie Step (Roberta Steponiatis), she heard about some upcoming competitions, and decided to give them a try. “Cookie really pushed me to stretch myself and try something outside of my comfort zone. I knew public speaking would be a good challenge for me,” said Jones.
The first competition she entered was the Veterans of Foreign Wars “Voice of Democracy” competition, speaking to the question: “Is the Constitution still relevant?” She finished first out of more than 40 entries. To her surprise, she also won at the district level and ultimately came in second in the state. Encouraged, she entered and won the Shelburne Lion’s competition with the prompt “In a world of service.”
“The feedback the Lions gave me was so helpful, and I was able to tie their advice into my other speeches,” informed Jones who will compete at the District level in March. And finally, Jones decided to enter the Rotary speech competition, speaking on “Peace through Service,” which she won at both the local and, most recently, the district level. “I was pretty nervous at our local one, which took place at Champlain Valley Union, because I knew the other speakers would be really good. I was glad to have done the Lions’ competition, because the prompts were similar, and I was able to practice delivering my speech.” Jones advances to the regional Rotary competition on Saturday, Jan. 26 in Hanover, N.H.
In conclusion, “I’m kind of speechless,” Jones announced, smiling.