University of Maryland Extension

Public Speaking Contest

The Central Cluster 4-H Communications Contest will be held on Saturday, April 4, 2020 at Lincoln Elementary School, 200 Madison St., Frederick, MD 21701.

One of the most valuable skills youth learn during their time in 4-H is public speaking.  Each year, 4-H youth from Frederick, Howard and Montgomery Counties participate in a Cluster Public Speaking Contest where they are able to practice and improve their public speaking skills.

Check out our Public Speaking:  Making a Great Speech Handbook to help with planning your speech.

The categories for the Communications Contest are:  Extemporaneous, Interpretation, Prepared and Radio Spot.  Clovers can participate as well by reciting the 4-H Pledge or the American Pledge.

  • Extemporaneous:  Participants will draw 3 topics at the contest and select a favorite from the 3.  Then given an alloted amount of time, a participant will write the speech and practice prior to presenting to judges.  Extemporaneous presenters will draw for their speaking topics upon arrival at their scheduled time. Juniors and Intermediates have 30 minutes of preparation time and seniors will have 15 minutes preparation time. 
  • Interpretations:  Youth memorize an oral presentation of a selected narrative from a published work.  Permitted works include dramatic or humorous plays, books or poetry.  A television script or show or any unpublished source is not acceptable. 
  • Prepared:  Write a speech prior to the contest and bring the day of.  The topic is the participants choice and is presented to judges during the alloted time slot.  Juniors may use a complete script.  Note cards containing key word outlines are permitted for intermediates and seniors. 
  • Radio Spot:  Create a 30 second radio commercial prior to the contest.  Present to the judges as if it is being broad cast over the radio.  Musical or sound effect introductions and/or backgrounds may be use
  • Clovers:  Clovers are welcome to participate in Prepared Speech area only, reciting the American or 4-H pledge.

Ribbons will be given in each of the age categories for each county. 

This is an excellent opportunity, whether a 4-Her carries a public speaking project or not, to receive valuable tips and learn tips to enhance public speaking abilities.  Champions will have the opportunity to participate in the State 4-H Communications Contest on April 25th.

We encourage all Howard County 4-Her's to participate in this great opportunity!

To register for the contest link, please go to

For additional questions, please contact Chris Rein at


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