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By Ed Moreth 

4-H members compete in Communication Days Finals


March 16, 2023

Carissa McNamara

Hannah Warnes of the South Side Sparks gives a demonstration on "Making a Pinata" for the Communication Days Finals at Plains High School.

Judges selected the best of the best in the 4-H Communication Days Finals on Sunday, sending the top four competitors in each division to either summer camp or to Bozeman.

Nineteen 4-H'ers from the South Side Sparks, Hot Springs Wranglers, Trout Creek Mavericks, and the Thompson Falls Mountaineers gathered at Plains School to show off their public speaking skills and their expertise of their selected subject.

First place in the junior division was Ailie Avilla of the South Side Sparks, the Plains club. The championship placement gives her a scholarship to the 4-H camp at Loon Lake in June. Avilla won with her demonstration "Hen Pecked? The Chicken Saddle Solution."

Juniors in the other top slots included Moriah Champneys, John McNamara, Anaelle Avilla, all of the South Side Sparks. The top four winners will receive a scholarship at 4-H camp at Loon Lake, said Ashley Haun, the administrative assistant at the Sanders County Montana State University Extension Office in Thompson Falls. The winners also received a certificate and a medallion at the awards ceremony, which took place at the school after the competition.

The champion in the senior division was South Side Sparks member Claire Wrobleski, who did her illustrated talk on "Tolkien: The Lord of the Books."  For her work, Wrobleski will get to attend a trip to the State 4-H Congress in Bozeman where they compete on a state level. Haun said the 4-H council partially pays for the trip. Second place went to South Side Sparks members Anna Hafner, followed by Andrew Wrobleski in third and Melodie Cook in fourth place. The top four placers are also able to compete at 4-H Congress in Bozeman. Kara Christensen of the Hot Springs Wranglers finished fifth as the alternate. First place in the Career Communications division was Mikiah Cook of the South Side Sparks. She is eligible to compete at Congress, but will be busy as the 4-H State Ambassador.

The remaining juniors in the competition included: Ayla Rehbein, Brooklyn Crain, Cooper Spurr, all of the South Side Sparks, Joshua Clarke and Crosby Goode of the Hot Springs Wranglers, Brianna Horner of the Trout Creek Mavericks, and Noah Scharfe of the Thompson Falls Mountaineers. The remaining seniors included: Hannah Warnes of the South Side Sparks and Addyson Deal of the Whitepine Happy Workers. Hattie Neesvig of the Whitepine Happy Workers, Matthew Thurston of the South Side Sparks, and Crosby Goode of the Hot Springs Wranglers qualified, but couldn't make it to the event. All members who qualified for finals received a medal sponsored by Tom and Bina Eggensperger of Thompson Falls, said Karen Dwyer, one of the primary coordinators Sunday.

Ashley Haun

Photo by Ashley Haun Top 4-H members at the Communication Days Finals in Plains on Sunday were (back row from left) Andrew Wrobleski, Claire Wrobleski, Anna Hafner and Melodie Cook and juniors (front row from left) Moriah Champneys, John McNamara, Anaelle Avilla and Ailie Avilla. All eight are members of the South Side Sparks 4-H club.

The annual event went for more than three hours with Roni Mitch, Collette Morgan, Sue Marsh, Rusty Kinkade, Gloria Bennett, and Sarah Naegeli serving as judges. There were a variety of subjects that entertained and amazed the judges, such as Anaelle Avilla's "Napkin Art: Practical Origami," or "So You Think You Know Birds" by Cooper Spurr in the junior division. Junior Joshua Clarke demonstrated "Flux Core Arch Welding." In the senior competition, Melodie Cook gave an illustrated talk on the "History of a Teenager." Kara Christensen demonstrated "Loom Beading" and Addyson Deal gave a demo "Different Kinds of Knots."

Dwyer said that Communication Days are an important part of growth for 4-H kids. "Presenters learn to organize ideas, create and use graphics and visual aids, develop leadership, and increase self-confidence," said Dwyer, who's been with the Sanders County 4-H program for 32 years. She added that they has a robust communications program and always does well at the state level. "Members who have graduated often state how much their planning and speaking skills have helped them in college and careers," she added. She noted that the judges noticed that the kids have put a lot of work into their presentations.


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