The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

February 27, 2013

4-H'ers give public presentations

By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — KNOWLESVILLE — The deep wells of knowledge and passion held within Orleans County 4-H members are being tapped, as 4-H’ers have shared their areas of expertise in public presentations at the Buzz Hill Education Center.

The 4-H’s public presentations program is designed to give young participants the opportunity to express themselves and their ideas. 4-H’er and Albion High School student Jonathan Tremblay has shared his passion for music and science in a half-dozen presentations over the years.

”I always presented on what I knew — there’s very few places that put you in that position,” said Tremblay, who uses his talents in the band Remember the Exodus and in his AP physics class.

This year was his biggest demonstration yet. Tremblay used a kitchen table-sized xylophone built out of pvc piping to explain how sound is created, how it travels and how it is received.

”This is the first time I went into the depth of music theory and the project was work intensive,” Tremblay said while younger 4-H’ers hammered away on the home-made instrument.

Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension Community Educator Kerri McKenna, who organized this year’s public presentation program, said participants are encouraged to chose topics that they enjoyed talking about.

That freedom led to a wide-ranging variety of topics — from the history of Coca-Cola to a demonstration on how to make paper ninja stars.

”Choosing a topic is the hardest part,” Claudia Deschel, whose public presentation, her fifth, was about civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speeches. “I really liked learning about him ... I found him to be such an interesting humanitarian.”

The presenters were evaluated on their delivery, knowledge and ability to answer questions on their topics. William Tremblay, the ninja-star maker and first-time public presenter, was asked to quantify how many stars he’d made.

“I’ve made so many I don’t even know,” Tremblay responded, smiling widely.

Seventy-two Orleans County 4-H Members have presented over the past three weeks in teen and junior division competitions. Some will advance to a Western New York competition next month and many have qualified for a fie, but McKenna said all have benefited from getting experience speaking before a crowd.

”I think that just getting up and doing presentation is important,” said McKenna, who recalled giving a very specific presentation on displaced abomasum in cattle. “The topics I did may have only been important to me ... but I really enjoyed that experience.”

Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.