On Saturday February 24, 2018, the St. Marys Fraternal Order of Eagles #4379 sponsored their annual God, Flag & Country oratory competition. This year there were two contestants in the 10-11 age category, eleven from the 12-13 age group and only one in the 14-15 age group. Camden County Coroner L.W. Bruce, who has judged this event for several years, said, "This was the best group since I have been involved."
In the 10-11 age group Walker Floyd of St. Marys Middle School placed first and Braydon Smith of Kingsland Elementary placed second.
In the 12-13 age group Clary Minnick of St. Marys Middle School won first prize, Daniel Eric Fredericks of Camden High School placed second and Lydia Vivenzio of Advance Learning Center placed third. Also competing were Gabriella Picard, Elliet Lykins, Mariann Dayment, Elena Delgado, Charley Countess, Curt Rogers, Grace Schafer and Jared Bryan, all from St. Marys Middle School.
In the 14-15 age category, Naomie Eason won first place. Naomie is a student at Advance Learning Center in St. Marys.
First place winners in the local competition received $50.00, second place received $30.00 and third place paid $20.00. If there are competitors from one of the other five Eagle Aeries in Georgia, there will be a State Competition on April 28 in Richmond Hill to determine the first place winners in each of the three age groups who will represent Georgia in the International competition in Dallas, Texas, on July 6, 2018.
Each student representing the Georgia State Eagles has a room for three nights at the Dallas Omni. Upon arriving to compete each student will receive a check for $750.00 from the Grand Aerie F.O.E. The winners in each age group in the International competition will receive $1000.00, second place pays $500.00 and third place wins $250.00.
Judging the local event this year was Jill Helton, publisher and editor of the Tribune-Georgian, Camden County Coroner L.W. Bruce, Richard Anderson, Kirby Schuler and Bobby Lea. Many Eagle members worked together to make this event happen, including Patricia Perrine and Mary Stagl who tabulated the judges' score sheets, Adrin Sordelet who served as time keeper, Cheryl Gardner was the photographer, Annie Taylor and Robin Lewis prepared the certificates and event Coordinator was Dr. Jim Burnham, assisted by Cindy Walters.
Ms. Twinette Pope of St. Mays Middle School won a $50.00 award for sponsoring the most students. Dr. Burnham thanked Mrs. Pope for encouraging her students to reach a little higher and achieve a little more. Several parents in attendance, some of whom were teachers themselves, commented on what an outstanding teacher Ms. Pope was for their children.
A spokesperson for the Eagles said, "I want to thank all of the teachers, parents and youth leaders who promote our program each year, and especially Mrs. Pope of St. Marys Middle and Mrs. Judy Holt of Advance Learning Center for encouraging their students to participate. We have some very talented students but without a little encouragement from their teachers and/or their parents, most kids would not go for it. Next year, the International competition will be in Louisville, Kentucky. No Eagle's Aerie in the US or Canada has sent more competitors and winners than St. Marys #4379. I hope this program continues to grow in Camden County. I would love to see some of our drama students, especially in the 14-15 years age group, get involved."
Seated in the Front Row: Clary Minnick, Naomie Eason and Walker Floyd Second Row: Braydon Smith, Charley Countess, Lydia Vivenzio, Mariann Dayment, Elliet Lykins, Gabriella Picard, and Daniel Fredericks Back Row: Grace Schaefer, Curt Rogers, and Elena Delgado
St. Marys FOE 4379
The Fraternal Order of Eagles are "People Helping People"