Four students, Kacey Hirai, Alexandria Hyndman, Madison Harlow and Abraham Gonzalez all headed to the Amazing Shake National competition at the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia after qualifying in the state tournament in the Tri Cities two weeks ago.
The journey started for them when they participated in the Great Warrior Shake competition for the Wahluke School District. Fourth through eighth graders participated in the “Work The Room” competition at Saddle Mountain Elementary and accumulated points. The top 30 participants went to the situation rounds at Wahluke Junior High School, where they gave speeches and presentations on various topics. The top 15 from the situation rounds went to the debate rounds in the WJH library, where seven were eliminated. The final eight went to Tri Cities and four of those did not advance to the Nationals.
Saddle Mountain Elementary Principal and Amazing Shake mentor Sean Langdon had some final words just days before the trip.
“We are going to nationals,” Langdon said. “For the finalists the work doesn’t stop.”
The final four left for Atlanta Thursday after a send-off Wednesday at Wahluke School District. Their plan after all of the hard work was to come back stronger and smarter.
Ron Clark started the Amazing Shake at the Ron Clark academy in Atlanta, Georgia. Wahluke Junior High School was just one of hundreds of other schools to participate in the event from all over the nation.
“The object of the shake is to teach kids life skills and to prepare them for the future.” Alexandria said.
Kasey Hirai values the experience because it prepares kids for job interviews they may have in the future. It teaches them to take care of the small details like eye contact, handshake and general presence that can make or break an interview.
Students participating in the amazing shake learn to adapt to changing and adverse situations. They learn to exude confidence and “savoir faire” when under pressure.
“After work the room we went to the situation round,” Abraham explained. “There were nine topics to give a speech on. The first was a speech about Eastern Washington University. You had to stand in front of judges and be graded on your performance. In the second situation we had to say all 50 states. We were graded on passion, impression, task completion and eye contact.”
Alexandria enjoyed the eulogy situation where they had to give a eulogy for a famous person and she also had fun saying the names of the states.
“I enjoyed it so much,” said Kasey. “It brought me back to last year. Last year was super fun.”
In Tri-Cities, Madi Harlow recalled how she had to pretend to sell a BMW M-4 to the head salesman. They also had to talk about different states and give a presentation based on the slides the teacher was showing. They did not know what would come up, so they had to think quickly.
After the event in the Tri-Cities the students went to Olive Garden and practiced carrying on conversations. They went to the mall to pass out surveys about Washington State. Finally, they ended the night at Red Robin where the winners were announced.
For Hirai, the best thing about the whole experience was having the chance to interact with other kids.
“The whole experience was a lot of fun,” Alexandria said. “It helps you grow relationships with people you do know and people you don’t know.”
Abraham felt he gained more confidence through his experience with the Amazing Shake. After an exciting weekend in Atlanta, where the kids had to think quick on their feet and dazzle judges with their speeches, Mr. Langdon confirmed they did very well and had a great time.