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Harmony Tinley talks the talk and walks the walk
Elim student Harmony Tinley received a Command Performance rating in public speaking at the 4-H Sectional competition. - photo by Photo Contributed

Harmony Tinley likes to talk, but she does it with a purpose. In fact, she competes with other students through the 4-H Communications program that allows her to travel and practice her craft of public speaking at various competitions.

A successful public speaker, when Tinley stepped onstage to perform her speech for the Sectional 4-H Public Speaking Competition, nerves surprisingly did not get to her, and she is hoping to have the same experience as she competes at the state level next month.

Tinley is a fourth grade student at Elim Elementary in Hilmar and a participant in 4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization. Prior to competing in the sectional competition against various counties including Mariposa, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Merced and Madera , Tinley competed at a regional competition against other 4-H students in the Merced area. Her success at both competitions earned her a Gold Award. Due to her recent success, Tinley now has gold pins to adorn her 4-H uniform.

“It’s fun. I like to give speeches and it is nice getting medals to hook onto my hat and uniform,” said Tinley.

At Sectionals Tinley got more than a gold medal as she also received a Command Performance, which allowed her to perform her speech, titled "Everyone Needs a Hero" and based on Jackie Robinson, in front of a crowd of over 100 people.

"That time I was nervous. I was shaking and everything because it wasn't just the judges anymore, there were a lot of people," said Tinley.

Tinley's ability to master performing in front of large crowds will serve her well as she progresses to the state competition on May 31 and beyond. To practice, Tinley recites her speech at home but when she isn’t rehearsing she stays busy with a variety of activities including dance, softball, piano, voice lessons, choir and other 4-H activities. In all that she does, Tinley plans to practice these skills because she knows they are traits that will help her rest of her life. As she says, "It's really good to speak clearly for jobs and college and things like that."