Annual convention a unique experience

Catherine Wiggins / Photo submitted

By Catherine Wiggins
Times-News correspondent

   On March 25, members of hundreds of Church of Christ churches traveled to Atlanta, Ga. for the 74th annual Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes Convention. The competition takes place on the same weekend but in different cities all across the East Coast and some cities on the West Coast, and they’ve just expanded into different countries this year.
Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes is a Christian competition held Easter weekend. Since the competition was founded in 1968, the mission has been to develop youth into Christian leaders. From a group of eight boys in the first year to more than 20,000 today, the mission has remained the same. It is a great way for church youth to learn important skills such as public speaking, creative arts and social skills. The students who compete get a chance to win scholarships, if they are a senior in high school, and also win trophies and ribbons.
There are multiple categories such as speech, song leading, Art Says It, debate, puppets, and Bible reading, each divided by grades. Almost every category has a Winner’s Circle. Speech is one of the most competitive categories. Depending on the grade, speeches can range from 3½ to 6 minutes. Every participant has to prepare a speech based on the year’s topic, recite it in front of the other participants, a judge, timekeeper, and anyone who shows up to hear the speeches. Song Leading is the next most competitive. This competition requires participants to pick a song from their church’s songbook and lead it in front of an audience. Each competition, except for pre-convention events, are separated by gender.
Churches from Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi, came to the Atlanta Marriott Marquee, where the event is held, to participate in this amazing event. It gives participants the thrill of competing and it’s always a fun, friendly and unique experience.
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Catherine Wiggins is a ninth-grader at Williams High School and a Teens & 20s writer.

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