• YEAR IN REVIEW: Folsom High Student’s Speech Nets Her $16,000

    Posted by Pooja Prazid on 5/26/2015
    “I think that anyone can achieve greatness through writing and putting their feelings into words. You just have to allow yourself to open up and write,” says Folsom High senior Jaycie Schenone.

    Schenone’s words won her a $16,000 scholarship and a trip to the nation’s capitol, as a second place national winner in the Veterans of Foreign War Voice of Democracy Contest earlier this year.  VFW Post 6604 and Ladies Auxiliary in Folsom sponsored Jaycie.

    Her journey started in the classroom of Susan Posner, a speech and debate teacher at Folsom High. Posner uses participation in the speech competition in her classroom to guide students through the technique of voice-overs. Posner and Schenone’s classmates gave feedback on how to improve the her VFW speech. From there, Schenone recorded her speech in her bathtub to ensure no background noise and a clear voice.

    “It took about 5 recordings to perfect it. I really though the inflection in my voice would be a make or break it. I wanted the audience to feel my emotions so I recorded it until it was perfect,” Schenone said.

    Schenone’s speech was about her grandfather, a former army officer, who had made a large impact on her life, and molded her appreciation for veterans.

    “I had a very personal connection to this speech and I really think that was inspiring for me. I wanted to get my grandfather’s story out there.”

    At the state and national competition, Schenone was able to tour various locations, from the Capitol to Mount Vernon, experiences made even more special through friendships with the other contestants. In June, the contestants will be attending a fully paid trip to Valley Forge.

    By participating in this competition, Schenone became much more confident about her career path.

    “I am planning to study journalism in college, and before this speech contest I really didn't know if I was choosing the right career to pursue, I knew I had a passion for it but I didn't know if I was talented enough. This award really solidified that for me.”

    Schenone adds, “I hope that next year more people partake in this speech competition because there is not a better feeling then seeing your words light up a veterans face or bring tears to their eyes. They deserve gratitude, and this is just one way we are able to show them that they are not forgotten.”

    Posner enjoys utilizing this contest in her lesson plan. “I enjoy the real world application – speaking beyond the walls of the classroom,” she said.  “I strongly believe the earlier one learns strategies that help with interpersonal communication, formal presentations and interview skills - the easier their lives become.  Students are called upon in all classes to articulate their thoughts - why not be prepared to share them the best way possible?”
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