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On Saturday, Sept. 25, 4-H youth gathered at the Middlebush Hall on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia for the annual State 4-H Public Speaking Contest.

The contest is one of Missouri 4-H's oldest and most popular traditions. The state competition features several speaking categories like the traditional prepared speaking, extemporaneous speaking, technology-assisted speeches and interpretation. Youth ages 8 to 18 who are involved in a Missouri 4-H program were eligible to compete.

This year, Sophie Geppert of the Hatton 4-H Club in Callaway County, competed alongside 39 other youth, representing 20 counties.

After a year of being virtual, 4-H'ers looked forward to attending an in-person State 4-H Public Speaking Contest.

One youth shared that the best part of this year's contest was, "being able to see old friends, meet new ones and give [their] speech in person." Every year, the contest provides an opportunity to share skills, get feedback from judges, network with youth from across the state and hear speeches that are presented by their peers.

Awards were given for the top three places in each age division and category. Geppert got second place in Intermediate Prepared Speaking.

Major support for Missouri 4-H Civic Engagement programs is provided by the Missouri 4-H Foundation in partnership with the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, Aaron and Erica Baker, Mary Davis, Dr. Robert E. "Bud" Hertzog, the Martz Family, MFA Foundation, Miller Family Foundation, Missouri Pork Association, Dr. Marla J. Tobin, and the Turner Family.

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