The Speech Contest
Some people do not like it when the dentist pokes and prods their mouth but Sari didn't mind. In fact she thought it would be better to have three teeth filled than present her school speech. Every year, Sari simply wrote her speech on the school bus and said it for the first time in front of the class. Sari would stumble over words, pause, and worse still, forget entire paragraphs. Sari's mom told her that she should practice. Sari decided that this year would be different. She would not leave her speech to the last minute.
Sari wrote and practiced saying her speech a week before the big day. She recited it to her grandparents before Sunday lunch. Sari was sure that Grandpa dozed off but Grandma listened. Sari practiced saying her speech to her twin cousins. Her cousins could not sit still and insisted on playing soccer while she spoke. Sari had to speak extra loud so that they could hear her while they were running after the ball. Sari practiced saying her speech to her neighbor's son. He was always cracking jokes and trying to make her laugh. Sari managed to say her entire speech with only laughing out loud once.
Now, it was speech day at school. Sari's teacher asked if there were any volunteers. Sari usually went last but this year her hand shot up. Sari marched confidently up to the front of the classroom. Her legs didn't feel like Jell-O like they usually did. Her hands were not sticky and there was no lump in her throat. Sari remembered to speak loudly and clearly. She didn't stop when she heard whispering or when someone coughed. She didn't stop when the principal accidently opened the classroom door.