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Area students compete in ‘Amazing Shake’

LaFAYETTE — On Wednesday, five elementary school students stood in front of the crowd at Chambers County Career Technical School multi-purpose room to be awarded medals for their performance in the inaugural Chambers County ‘Amazing Shake’ competition.

The first of its kind in the area, The Amazing Shake was developed by the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta as a national competition to challenge elementary school students in etiquette, discipline, manners and conversational skills.

The Chambers County competition was spearheaded by Lauren Dabbs, fourth-grade teacher at Fairfax Elementary. Dabbs is a member of the East Alabama Regional In-Service Committee Ron Clark Implementation Team.

“Our goal was to prepare our students so that they are able to present themselves exceptionally well for opportunities today as well as those that will come in the future,” Dabbs said in an interview with the LaFayette Sun. “Five students from each elementary school demonstrated how to give a proper handshake, maintain eye contact, and present themselves in a professional manner.”

Before the students received their awards at Wednesday’s school board meeting, a video produced by Dabbs explaining the competition.

The Amazing Shake first tasked 30 students — five from each county school — with a conversational exercise. They held small talk with a judge who scored them based on their conversation skills, manners, eye contact and their ability to listen. The top ten from that group moved on to the next exercise.

The second round tested each students’ public speaking ability. They were tasked with answering questions and sharing their opinions on current events with a panel of judges that included faculty members from around the county and Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge.

Five finalists were chosen for the third round; a mock job interview with Superintendent Hodge, Child Nutrition Director Montray Thompson and Elementary Education Director Dr. Nancy Maples.

“Selecting an overall winner was a difficult task,” said Hodge in a recent press release. “These students exhibited outstanding poise, confidence, and ability to perform well under pressure, all traits that will help them become successful citizens.”

At Wednesday’s meeting, each of the five finalists was awarded a medal and a customized shirt that signifies them as ambassadors of the Chambers County School District. These finalists included Da’Mauriel Davis, Madison Heard, Jacob Smith, Rylee Yates and Journey Dixon, each of whom shared their educational goals and an interesting fact about themselves with the crowd.

“My interesting fact is that my mother did raise me very well,” Davis said.

Journey Dixon won first place overall in the competition. According to Dabbs and Hodge, Chambers County intends to continue and expand the Amazing Shake competition into the future.