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story.lead_photo.caption Chase Haskins, center left, and Jacob Nash are two Atlanta High students who have just finished a public speaking contest for the Atlanta Rotary Club. The adults from left are Fern Porter, Sheri New, Jackie Icenhower and Dr. Terry Foster. Photo by Neil Abeles / Texarkana Gazette.

Atlanta High School has a public speaking course, and the Atlanta Rotarians have a newly revived public speaking contest.

The two got together recently, when three judges sat down to listen to high school students speak in a room at the Atlanta Public Library. The reward would be the best speaker's chance to go on to the Rotarians' district competition and vie with speakers from the 37 other clubs of the Northeast Texas district.

"Public speaking has a reputation of being one of our biggest fears," Atlanta High teacher Susan Gregg said.

"The students take my course to overcome that fear and learn to speaker professionally. To inform, persuade, communicate, entertain these are all helpful for success in the work force."

The Atlanta High semester course is an elective and a dual-credit course, which means it also awards college credit at Texarkana College.

The students were given a subject and a five-to-seven minute time limit for their talk. The subject was the Rotary 4-Way Test, which Rotarians affirm at each meeting. The test asks the following questions:

  •  Is it the truth?
  •  Is it fair to all concerned?
  •  Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  •  Will it be beneficial?

Rotarian Fern Porter said the club's speaking contest, now in its second year, fits with the club's emphasis upon student encouragement and scholarship.

Last week's contest was won by senior Chase Haskins, who will go to further competition April 27 at Mount Pleasant ISD.

Judges were Sheri New, Jackie Icenhower and Dr. Terry Foster.

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