Last evening I had the privilege of sitting in a classroom at a local high school and listen to 7 different seniors present their senior year projects to a panel of judges.
I was judge number 4.
I spent almost three hours with a piece of paper and pencil in front of me judging the kids based on their appearance, the frequency of the words "um", "ah" and "like..." in their speech, the depth of the research presented, the clarity in ideas, their conclusion and their ability to answer all our questions - amongst several other requirements. It was so much fun!
The variety of subjects covered was both interesting and enlightening. The students assigned to our room talked about Smokeless tobacco, Dress making, Pastel drawing, Fostering animals from a shelter, Ballroom dancing, Ophthalmology and Banking cord blood.When I was leaving I walked past a classroom where one guy was doing his presentation in a fireman uniform and another person waiting in the hallway was getting into a divers outfit. The diversity kept it fun!
It is hard to judge other people - I wanted so badly to give everyone perfect scores but not everyone deserved perfect scores and it was truly hard to dock points because they kept their eyes glued on the ceiling or because they couldn't intelligently answer questions related to their research.
And when the nervous ones walked in the room I wanted to give them each a hug and tell them I understood, that it really wasn't as bad as it might seem.
All of the highschools in the county do these senior projects and presentations and they rely on a panel of judges made up from people in the community to judge the presentations - though from what I saw last evening it looked like it was mainly parents and teachers serving as judges.I would highly recommend you looking into your local high school and see if they have a similar program set up and if so jump at the chance to sit and listen to these students - I learned a few new things, enjoyed watching the various abilities of public speaking the students displayed and was all around entertained for the evening while helping out my community.
I had such a fun time I am planning on doing both evenings next year and have asked Paul to come do it too.