Wednesday evening at Lovonya Dejean Middle School, I attended a School Board meeting along with all the other students who were accepted into the Ivy League Connection. Also in attendance were the School Board members, our chaperons, and our families. This event was a great opportunity for us to meet all the kids who were accepted and to congratulate any familiar faces that we saw. More importantly, it also allowed us to thank those who helped in any way to make all of this possible for us.
At this meeting I was asked to say a few words about how excited I am to be going to Chicago and what I will bring back to my community when all of this is over. During the planning of this mini speech, I hit the worst writers block ever and couldn't think of anything to write. I began to panic because the meeting was only in a few days and there would be a lot of people listening to what I had to say. Messing up was something that I couldn't do. After reaching out to Don and being encouraged by my Chicago group, I decided to speak from the heart instead of going in with a speech already planned.
While waiting for the meeting to begin, I felt that the atmosphere of the room was relaxed and non-judgmental so this put me at ease. This, and seeing so many of my friends wish me luck, made me feel like I was on top of the world. When the time came to give my speech, my mind was clear and I'm glad to say that I was able to speak without passing out or throwing up. Of course it wasn't perfect and I stuttered a little bit but I was still able to do it and the response I got from my Chicago group made me forget about all of that.
|Presenting Ourselves to the School Board|
After the speech came picture time. The task of getting everyone organized and where they needed to be fell onto the ever capable hands of Don. Getting about 100 people to listen and pay attention to you while you tried and get them to be where they need to be so the picture comes out perfect sounds 100 times as difficult as it does. But, as usual, Don was able to get it done.
I'm really glad that I got to practice my public speaking. Since the Chicago group went last, I was able to take in what my peers did and from that, I could figure out the direction that I wanted my speech to go and the way in which I wanted to deliver it. Granted, maybe another time I'll have to go first but I believe that this practice that I got will only make me a better speaker.