Jackie Gillespie's lips moved silently as she ran through her speech before taking her turn.
She addressed what she calls "duh-ism" _ stupid instructions, such as the label that tells you not to drink shampoo.
Gillespie competed with 22 girls and four boys weeded out of 500 contestants from Bayonet Point, Gulf, Hudson, Pasco, Pine View, River Ridge, Seven Springs, Stewart and T. S. Weightman middle schools for the March 14 public speaking contest, the second such yearly event in Pasco County.
Weightman pupil Kristin Rollins took first place for speaking to inform. Pine View pupils Lindsey Keene, Gillespie, and Heather Anderson took second in their categories (See box).
They talked about drunken driving, hedgehogs, serial killers and mythology, among other things.
Stephanie Lane, 14, of Weightman Middle, sounding like an infomercial, touted "successories."
"I can't believe how articulate those kids are," said David Keene, munching on a chocolate chip cookie. His daughter, Lindsey, was an orator. "They put them right there under the gun and boom _ away they performed."
Jessica Kennedy, 13, a seventh-grader at Pine View, said she wasn't too fond of the pressure. Her legs shook from the minute she walked into the room.
Kristin Rollins said she was ready. She and the other finalists from Weightman traipsed around to five classes the day before, practicing their speeches. Rollins practiced in front of her mirror and with her mother.
She wants to be Miss America and then a newscaster, like Connie Chung used to be, she said.
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The following students talked their way to the top in the district speech competition in Pasco County:
SPEAKING TO PERSUADE
1. Jenny Bierweiler, Hudson Middle School
2. Lindsey Keen, Pine View Middle School
3. Stephanie Lane, Weightman Middle School
4. Tye Reedy, Pasco Middle School
SPEAKING TO ENTERTAIN
1. Ali Bigger, Seven Springs Middle School
2. Jackie Gillespie, Pine View Middle School
3. Mandy Wilson, Bayonet Point Middle School
4. Whitney Wartd, Pasco Middle School
SPEAKING TO INFORM
1. Kristen Rollins, Weightman Middle School
2. Susie Schlotzhauer, Hudson Middle School
3. Krystal Badia, Bayonet Point Middle School
4. Sarah Hammett, Pasco Middle School
THE WINNERS OF THE SIXTH GRADE ORATION COMPETITION ON MARCH 13
1. Kristen McClannahan, Seven Springs Middle School
2. Heather Anderson, Pine View Middle School
3. Johnathan Jones, Seven Springs Middle School
4. Stephanie Songhurst, Seven Springs Middle School