AIKEN, S.C.—Micah Christensen, a senior at South Effingham High School, took second place at the Peach Council competition in the Leadership High School Speech Contest hosted by the Savannah River Site Leadership Association. Christensen was sponsored by the Gulfstream Management Association in Savannah. His effort earned him a $250 award, as he attempted to advance toward the $4,000 grand prize in a national contest sponsored by the National Management Association, the world’s largest leadership development association.
The purpose of this four-tiered NMA contest is to promote a better understanding of leadership among high school students. It also provides an incentive for the development of communication skills that are vital to the students when they enter the work force.
The Gulfstream Management Association sponsored Christensen, who won $300 in a local competition held at Armstrong Atlantic State University in February. Christensen’s six-minute speech was titled “Are Leaders Born or Made?” He examined four elements of leadership: character, influence, experience and performance.
Christensen cited several examples that demonstrated these elements and how they have inspired him toward his goal of attending West Point.
Before a crowd of NMA members, guests and judges at the NMA Peach Council contest, Christensen competed against students representing other NMA chapters from Georgia and South Carolina. Isaac Halverson, a senior at the Westminster Schools of Augusta, won the Peach Council competition and its accompanying $500 prize, plus the right to advance to the next level of competition. Halverson is sponsored by the Savannah River Site Leadership Association chapter in Aiken. His speech was titled “Quiet Leadership.”
Third place and the $150 prize went to Olivia Hightower, a senior homeschooled student from the Atlanta area and sponsored by the Lockheed Martin Leadership Association in Marietta.
In early June, Halverson will represent the Peach Council and compete at the NMA East Regional contest in Savannah. In this third level of competition, students from 25 states in the East Regional will vie for a $1,000 cash prize and the right to advance to the national finals. The final level of the national speech contest will be held in September, in conjunction with NMA’s annual leadership development conference. This year’s conference will be in St. Louis. Four students from the regional contests will compete for the top award — $4,000 in cash.