When I was in high school, I participated in FFA (Future Farmers of America, in case you were wondering). I first joined so that I could get out of classes sometimes and hang out with this guy I liked. I had no idea just how much I would take away from the experience. One of the sponsors talked me into being on the horse judging team. Horse judging basically consisted of judging some horses (duh!), putting them in the right order, and then giving reasons to a judge. Reasons is a short little speech thingy that you give to a judge explaining your logical reasons for placing the horses the way you did. For me, reasons was the most horrible part because I'm not a huge public speaker (even if it is just an audience of one). I always managed to get through the reasons and, even got to where I could score pretty well. Eventually, our team placed third in the national competition.
At the time, I had no idea just how much I was really learning. This week, however, I was reminded. I had to participate in a debate during my history class. While I was sitting at the front of the room, waiting for my turn to speak, I just kept reminding myself that this silly debate was nothing compared to giving my final set of reasons at the national horse judging competition. When my turn came around, I took a deep breath and spoke my part with no problems. Frequently, I am appalled at the way people speak in front of my classes. I am just so thankful I learned how to speak in public from my time in FFA.
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