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Six West Virginia 4-H'ers Participated in Northeast States 4-H Presentations Fest

West Virginia 4-H held their State 4-H Presentation Expo in April 2021. Six of the top scorers - two from each presentation type (Formal Speech, Demonstration, Illustrated Talk) - were invited to participate in the inaugural Northeast States 4-H Presentations Fest on Saturday, September 18, 2021. This event, led by Melanie Forstrom of Cornell Cooperative Extension, showcased the presentation skills of 37 youth from 10 states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.

West Virginia 4-H'ers who participated were:

Learn more about each participant and their presentation.


Caroline Fox Mercer County

Caroline Fox is 15 years old and a member of the Princeton Dakotas 4-H Club in Mercer County. She has participated in 4-H for 6 years.

During the Presentation Fest, Caroline gave a Formal Speech presentation entitled "The Culture of American Sign Language."

She received a blue ribbon for her presentation. One adult evaluator noted that her "introduction was the best of the day". Another mentioned Caroline's demonstration of the new signs that have emerged as a result of COVID as "really great". Both thought her presentation was "well done" and could clearly see her passion for the topic.

According to her peer feedback, Caroline motivated her peers to want to learn more about American Sign Language. They really enjoyed the way she was able to engage the audience by teaching them how to sign COVID related terms. One peer in particular mentioned that Caroline was able to convey empathy and passion throughout her presentation.

Emily Thurgood Jefferson County

Emily Thurgood is 16 years old and a member of the Summit Point Busy Bees 4-H Club in Jefferson County. She has participated in 4-H for 7 years.

Emily's Formal Speech about "Dreams" earned her a red ribbon during the Presentation Fest. The judges mentioned that she was very knowledgeable about her topic and enjoyed "learning some new information". They could tell her speech was "thoroughly researched".

Emily's peers thought her topic was really "cool" and "great". They enjoyed her "personal connections" and found "dream interpretation so interesting". One peer noted in particular that she "loved how Emily opened her speech by asking the audience questions about their own dreams".

Illustrated Talk

Julie Fincham Jefferson County

Julie Fincham is 13 years old and a member of the Summit Point Busy Bees 4-H Club in Jefferson County. She has participated in 4-H for 6 years.

Julie's Illustrated Talk, "WV Festivals", earned her a blue ribbon in the Presentations Fest. The judges thought that Julie did a great job with her presentation, especially when she answered questions from the audience. They liked how she repeated the question from the audience before she responded. They also noted she had "excellent flow" to her presentation and a strong outline, including a clear introduction and conclusion.

Julie's peers also referenced the excellent flow and outline of her presentation in their feedback. They noted that she had "great transitions between slides" and that she "seemed very enthusiastic about her topic". One peer said, "I liked the content and images in the presentation".

Katie Thompson Morgan County

Katie Thompson is 14 years old and a member of the Settlers 4-H Club in Morgan County. She has participated in 4-H for 5 years.

During the Presentations Fest, Katie gave an Illustrated Talk about the "Seashells of Sanibel Island", which merited a blue ribbon. Her adult evaluators "loved her personal connection to the island and hearing about her own experiences collecting shells". Another evaluator mentioned Katie did a nice job of capturing the audience's attention at the beginning of her presentation by asking them about their own experiences going to the beach and collecting shells.

Katie's peers really enjoyed her enthusiasm. One said, "Your smile through the whole speech made me want to listen even more! It definitely showed that you really enjoy your topic and are very passionate about it!" Another noted, " Your topic was very interesting and it is something I did not know much about but always wanted to learn more about". Several of Katie's peers mentioned that they hoped Katie found the shell she dreamed of adding to her collection one day.

Kellen Lambert Taylor County
Kellen Lambert is 13 years old and a member of the Valley Falls Dreamers 4-H Club in Taylor County. She has participated in 4-H for 7 years.

During the Presentations Fest, Kellen gave a Demonstration called, "Getting Your Goats: How to Keep Them Healthy and Happy". This presentation merited a red ribbon in the competition. The judges loved her conversational style and comfort with her topic. They also noted that her presentation was neat and clean and included great photos. Another mentioned that she seemed very natural during her presentation.

Kellen's peers especially enjoyed her presentation. One said, "I love that you had such a great connection to your topic and had very practical and useful information. I loved hearing about such an interesting agricultural project". Another mentioned, "I could tell that you love to raise goats and even though I had never thought about getting goats, you got me excited about this". Connecting her presentation to her own life was definitely a strength of Kellen's presentation.

Sheraya Alford Jefferson County

Sheraya Alford is 14 years old and a member of the Shore Blazers 4-H Club in Jefferson County. She has participated in 4-H for 4 years.

Sheraya gave a blue ribbon Demonstration during the Presentations Fest called "How to Wash Your Clothes". The judges thought her "volume and pace was excellent". They also mentioned that her "comfort giving a presentation was admirable". Another noted that she had "good use of humor" and that her "choice of topic was creative". They really enjoyed her personal connections when answering questions from the audience.

According to her peers, Sheraya's presentation was very informative and engaging. They enjoyed learning about the topic and could see how it applies in their own lives. They especially like that she conducted her presentation in her own laundry room. They thought that was a nice touch. They also agreed with the adult judges about her use of humor as it made her presentation more personable.