Rider Heads To Nationals

ST. MARYS — A local girl has moved on in a speech competition, after winning the state level this weekend.

On Saturday in Lima, Clare Caywood competed at the state level of the God, Flag and Country speech contest.

“I was surprised because the boy who spoke before me was really good, and I was ready to get second place,” Clare said of her first-place win at state.

After winning first, Clare will move on to the national level.

“Next, I go to the national competition in Grand Rapids, Mich., on July 7,” she said.

For her winning first at state, Clare won money and a plaque.

“Last time, I got a $2,000 grant and $300,” Clare said of her prize.

Previously, Clare, along with St. Marys Middle School student Alexa Sutton and Holy Rosary student Kelly Wilker, competed at the Zones level in Norwalk. After netting first place at Zones, Clare took home $150 cash and a $100 savings bond, along with a plaque.

Clare’s speech is in the form of a game show, where she interactively chooses members of the audience to participate as she tells them about god, flag and her country.

“I was sitting in class, and Mrs. Lisi said to jot down ideas,” Clare said. “I thought, ‘What about a game show?’ and I wrote it down.”

This is Clare’s first year participating in the God, Flag and Country speech contest.

“I could’ve last year but I didn’t,” she said.

Instead, Clare said she chose to wait until this year to participate.

“It’s easier this year because last year I was a grade younger than everybody else who was in it,” she said.

Clare said she has been enjoying her time in the contest.

“It’s a great experience to hear all the speeches and what people think about God, flag and country,” she said.

Clare, 11, is the daughter of Darren and Renee Caywood. She is a student in Nicole Wiley’s fifth-grade class at St. Marys Intermediate School.

Along with this title, Clare will speak at the Eagles State Convention in Columbus June 21. Clare also will be presenting her speech during the 10 a.m. service June 3 at St. Paul’s UCC.