Twenty-five Macon County eleventh grade students are part of a mentoring program with a dozen Auburn University students and graduate assistant Raven Conwell. The project is funded in part by the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the work these students do together revolves around workplace and college readiness. We meet each Thursday at the Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church on Highway 81 between Notasulga and Tuskegee.
We were reminded of the changing season tonight with the temperature in the high 40s, brisk for Alabama. Sports season has changed as well, since football has ended. Many of our students are on school basketball teams, and a few were absent due to practice and games.
During “good news/bad news” updates, both college and high school students shared plenty of each, ranging from exams, an ACT result, and correspondence from colleges. Tonight’s topic was public speaking, a skill we discovered that frightens lots of folk, both college and high school students. But we’re a family of sorts, no need to be nervous in front of family.
After talking through some tips related to public speaking, Raven passed handed out some random objects with instructions for each person to develop a one-minute speech related to the object. As you can see from the pictures, not everyone was thrilled with their speech subject J
The round robin of speeches began, each followed by tips and thoughts. Some were quite creative. Xavier had much to say regarding ladies wearing big hats in church, and Quincy revealed his sudden and complete attachment to a stuffed elephant. Lionel didn’t have much to say about the doorknob he received, so we expect more detail next week. We’ll have to nail Judah’s feet the floor next time, since his habit of “working the room” made us all dizzy. All of our high school students participated—even the most shy among us—and all had something important to say about Raven’s randomly distributed item.
Next week students are to prepare and present 3-minute speeches on topics of their choice. Mentors will check in with students and assist as necessary. Public speaking comes easy to some, not so much for others. But it builds confidence, teaches preparation, develops in everyone a demeanor of professionalism, and, in the words of the Auburn Creed, cultivates a spirit that is not afraid.