K has been gearing up for this week for Oregon’s Youth Education Summit. She found out a couple weeks ago that she needed to take the essay she wrote and convert it to a speech. I thought she might
totally freak out be a little uncomfortable with the idea of giving a speech. In addition to having to speaking, she found out that it was going to be a room filled with state Representatives/Senators. Surprisingly, she only had a moment of anxiety and then she exclaimed that she could “totally nail it”.
She rewrote elements of her essay to make it easier to read and added the niceties that would make it a speech. Then she practiced a bit, but in private. The essay was about the Constitution and government, so she did some more research to help aid her in conversations she might have over the three days. She was feeling pretty good.
Yesterday I dropped her off. From observation, it appeared, but was not confirmed that one of the finalists decided not to come. She may have come later – I will have to ask K next time I talk with her. The other girl that was there, sadly, looked terrified. The kids were just hanging out in the lobby and she just looked like she was ready to bolt. K said she later warmed up and was able to give her speech. The rest of the five finalists consisted of 5 boys – most looking well polished and clean cut. It sounded like everyone was getting along, though they are all competing for scholarship money and 2 spots to go to Washington DC to compete for additional scholarship money.
The activities from yesterday included taking a detailed tour of the capitol building and watching sessions of state congress. K said she enjoyed the tour and the group was treated like VIP’s and introduced during the session. Next they went to the state archives. They were able to go into back rooms and examine important old documents that were being preserved. After that, they went back to the hotel and cleaned up for dinner.
Dinner began with their speeches. They drew numbers and K’s was the second speech. She was a little intimidated because the first speaker had memorized his entire speech. She said she did fairly well and was feeling good and about her performance. One of the youth speakers started to give his speech and became flustered and was unable to finish. She said she felt really bad and gave him a hug right after and tried to make him feel better —- no matter how she did, it mattered more to me that she cared about the well being of the boy. It sounded like the rest of the kids came together to console him and they are, despite the competition, becoming a team. K did say that the boy made up for not being able to speak by being personable during the day, so she thought he had maybe not gotten counted out.
During dinner, K sat next to one of the Senators (forgot his name). They were talking and eating and (Mama shakes head here) she noticed that he wasn’t eating his croutons. She commented on it and he said he wasn’t a fan of them. Probably seeing the agast look in her eyes, he then asked if she wanted them. Now — she started out our phone conversation by EXCLAIMING “I stole a Senator’s Croutons!!!” Which just made us get screwed up looks on our faces. I felt better at the full explanation, but shook my head. Prior to her leaving for the trip we had discussed that the first night was a FORMAL dinner and what kind of expectations would be part of that. I guess I neglected to mention that salivating over your dinner companion’s salad garnishings was not really something that I would encourage…especially if it was a high ranking state representative. Note to self – explain more details next time!
Today, the kids are going to a water park as a special treat, but only for a couple hours. Their day is very full and includes two museum tours in addition. Hopefully it will be a good day to blow off a little steam from the stress of the previous day. Tomorrow, they are going to be doing some shooting at an Olympic style range and go through an education program. The three days culminates with a final meal (parents invited) and awards ceremony. This is when we find out about exact scholarship awards and who is going to DC. Very exciting!!!