Helping kids learn to shine
okPORK Hosts the annual Youth For Pork speech contest
Leaning on literary pigs of the past, Elizabeth Perdue spoke about life lessons we could all learn from pigs. Starting with Wilbur from "Charlotte's Web", a quick reference had the entire auditorium reaching into their memories and pulling up lessons Wilbur was able to leave behind - in some cases - years previously.
She continued to speak about the different things readers have learned from the literary pigs and then she gracefully transitioned into discussing the many ways pigs have helped humans in the past. Research, medicine and food were a few of the topics she was able to speak about.
Perdue has been a fixture among the top placing speeches for several years. This year, she managed to snag the top honor and was proud to do it.
"It makes me happy to be able to come and do a good job on my speech," Perdue said.
Holding her Youth for Pork Overall Winner plaque, she posed in her green 4-H jacket with a huge smile. As a participant in the junior 4-H division, Perdue competed against students who were significantly older than she to win the contest.
Each year okPORK hosts the speech contest during the Swine Field Day on Oklahoma State University's campus in Stillwater, Okla. Each speaker has complete control over which aspect of the pork industry they will speak about - as the only requirement is for the speech to be about pork.
Four divisions are available for competition - the divisions are based on the speaker's age and sets specific limits on the length of the speech. A first and second place winner is announced for each division.
The winners of each division go head-to-head in front of an audience of their supporters and the judges get one more chance to hear each speech. Once the judges decide which speech will win, the overall winner is announced and pictures are taken.
Students who are and will continue to be leaders come from across the state to be involved in the competition. Hopefully, the information they are learning will stick with them and when the time comes the pork industry will help them find a career path.
okPORK visits Big Three Swine Field Day at Oklahoma State University
4-H and FFA members from across the state make the trek to Stillwater, Okla. each summer to judge livestock. They jump into ag trucks and vans - sometimes in the wee early hours of the morning - to catch some experience judging cattle, sheep and pigs.
okPORK is proud to be able to address the gathered judges during Swine Field Day at the Oklahoma State University Animal Science Arena and enjoys getting to see the competition take place. Roy Lee Lindsey, executive director for okPORK,steals just a moment or two from the collection of judges.
During the couple of minutes Lindsey speaks, he thanks the judges for being interested in agriculture and explains about the Youth Leadership Camp okPORK conducts during the month of June. Each judge is encouraged to learn more about the camp, submit an application and take a shot at five days of immersion into the Oklahoma pork industry.
During the competition each judge gains a deeper perspective on how to function in their role as a member of their team, while moving between the classes of hogs. Students are exposed to the animals and are taught the skill to decipher small differences in the animals. The judges are also taught decision making, speaking and oral reasoning skills.
When one looks through the résumés of these kids - wouldn't anyone want employees with these qualities? Don't you look forward to the day when they are moving into the pork industry? It won't be long, for some college is right around the corner.