Edmond FFA's National Extemp Contestant Jessica Kenville Speaks Off the Cuff with Carson HornTue, 23 Oct 2018 10:06:41 CDT
Over 60,000 FFA members and supporters are in Indianapolis this week for the 91st Annual National FFA Convention. Several hundred Oklahoma FFA members are competing for national honors there- including Jessica Kenville of the Edmond FFA Chapter. Kenville climbed her way to the top this year in Oklahoma's State FFA Extemporaneous Speaking Contest will compete on the national level in Indianapolis this week. She sat down with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn to talk about her passion for extemporaneous speaking and how she has been preparing herself to compete at the National FFA Convention. Listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
Kenville, a transplant from Florida with no previous agricultural background, says she found a community that was relevant to her in FFA upon relocating to Edmond. At first, she admits her initial impression of FFA was just an opportunity to "hang out with animals all day." She says she quickly learned of all the other opportunities available to her through the organization and began engaging in everything that was of interest to her. She began competing in public speaking contests early on but only in the prepared public speaking division. Over time, she says the structure of prepared public speaking became too monotonous. She eventually explored beyond her comfort zone and discovered extemporaneous speaking which allows her to speak on a variety of subjects that interest her rather than just one speech given on the same topic, in the same way every time. And, while one is never sure exactly which topic will be drawn, Kenville certainly has her favorite topics she always enjoys speaking about.
"I really like talking about current agricultural technologies. I do Agriscience Fair every year and I've been pretty competitive in that. I talk a lot about GMOs and the use of microbes in agriculture and how the agriculture industry is becoming a more technologically-based community," Kenville said. "Those are my favorite because they are so current and relevant right now. These are the things we're moving toward, so I like to talk about those and think that's really important."
In order to prepare for the contest at the National Convention this week, Kenville practices by putting herself through a nightly extemporaneous contest of her own. Each evening after school, she draws a topic and will prepare a short speech and then delivers it. This allows her to sharpen her presentation skills while also learning about new topics and information that might be useful when it comes time to actually compete for real. She says she tends to focus on topics that don't interest her as much as a way to force her to learn about those subjects as well. Kenville says she feels lucky to have found "Extemp," understanding the skills she is developing through it and how she can carry those throughout life into a professional career.
"I am really fortunate to have found extemp, because for the rest of my life there's not going to be an instance when I'm told to memorize a five-paragraph speech and present it to somebody. Maybe a little spiel or whatever, but most of the time in life - you're speaking extemporaneously," she said. "I want to go into law and speaking extemporaneously is what lawyers do and I think that by participating in these contests, that's definitely going to help me in my future career."
One again, we are taking pictures in and around the 2018 National FFA Convention- click or tap here to check out the National Convention Album on FLICKR. By the way- we continue a tradition as several state officers of the Oklahoma FFA will be taking pictures for us during the course of the meeting.
Our exclusive coverage of the 2018 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis October 24-27 is a service of ITC Great Plains, Your Energy Superhighway- learn more about this high voltage, transmission only utility and their commitment to the communities they serve which is the cornerstone of their business - Click or tap here for their webpage. We also appreciate the support of the Oklahoma FFA Association and the Oklahoma FFA Alumni Association. Click or tap here for more information about one of the top states in the US in the FFA- the Oklahoma FFA Association. FFA is a student organization for high school-aged students interested in agriculture and leadership. Oklahoma FFA impacts the lives of over 27,000 members in 359 chapters across the state.
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