Beverly Ceasar is a senior at Dadeville High School and the winner of the state FBLA public speaking competition. | Alison James
Beverly Ceasar is a senior at Dadeville High School and the winner of the state FBLA public speaking competition. | Alison James

Archived Story

DHS student takes first place at state

Published 11:24am Thursday, April 25, 2013

Public speaking is a passion for Dadeville High School student Beverly Ceasar, and she’s the best in the state.

Ceasar, a senior at DHS, won first place at the Future Business Leaders of America State Leadership Conference April 11-12 in Birmingham – the only person to ever win first from DHS.

“Public speaks gives me an opportunity to speak in a way that gets something across to someone,” said Ceasar, who has been involved in public speaking since fifth grade through 4–H and other avenues. “I have a chance to say something powerful – I can leave a lasting impression.”

Ceasar’s speech tackled the interrogative pronouns – who, what, where, when, why and how – and how leaders have to take these questions into consideration in their decisions and actions.

Ceasar said it took her about a week and a half to write her speech.

“I knew what I wanted to say, and I had been thinking about my speech since January,” Ceasar said.

Then it was practice, practice, practice.

“I’m really dramatic, so my house is like a 24/7 opera – I like to sing and do crazy dances,” Ceasar said. “You can just imagine how dramatic I was with my speech – in front my mirror, walking around the kitchen, just everywhere.”

Teachers at DHS also helped Ceasar prepare – by hearing her practice it and proofreading her grammar – like FBLA adviser Cathy Newkirk.

“She’s an excellent speaker, and she’s a very good writer, too,” Newkirk said. “I knew she was going to place. It was better than she’s ever done.”

Ceasar said memorizing her speech wasn’t hard, and after plenty of practice, she was ready.

“This was probably the best speech I’ve ever written,” Ceasar said.

Ceasar had to give her speech three times during competition over the space of two days. She gave it again, as the first place winner, in front of 1,900 peers.

“I was just happy to be in the top six,” Ceasar said. “When they called me out in the top three, I was ecstatic. When I heard I got first place, I didn’t know what to do. It’s surreal.”

Newkirk said Ceasar’s first place win is a victory for the school as a whole.

“Here we are, little Dadeville, and we’re standing up there with Vestavia, Auburn – all of these schools – and they called Dadeville High School,” Newkirk said. “I was just filled with joy and just so proud of her … Everyone in this school had a part with that. It’s a thing to make the school and community proud.”

Ceasar will travel to Anaheim, Calif., to compete in the national competition at the end of June. Three other DHS FBLA seniors will join her on the trip for support.

“Having them there – one girl is good with hair, one girl always has everything, and the other girl is really encouraging. All of them together really help me,” Ceasar said. “I’m competing against the best for real this time. I need to bring my A-game.”

The students are looking for financial support to attend the national conference – it costs more than $1,000 per student, in addition to funding for Newkirk and an additional chaperone. To contribute to the trip, checks can be made out to Dadeville High School FBLA. For more information, call the school at 256-825-6223.