Lochlyn Peek wins Regional Great Shake Event held at Dogwood ES

Susan EspirituSouth Knox

The Regional Great Shake event took place on February 20, from 3-7 p.m. at Dogwood Elementary School, with 51 participants from schools across the county.

This Great Shake competition originated in 2016 when a couple of teachers from Dogwood Elementary were inspired by the Ron Clark Academy (RCA) to empower their students through leadership opportunities.

The fundamental idea behind it is that even kids can learn to communicate clearly, using manners and maintaining poise under pressure in real-world scenarios.

The competition had two rounds that all participated in: The Gauntlet and The Circle of Doom.

The Gauntlet is a series of authentic scenarios where students compete in such challenges as strutting the red carpet to show their personalities, guest starring on a late night show or even making a New Year’s toast to a rowdy crew.

The Circle of Doom allowed students to interact with business leaders and professionals from across the county.  They had one minute to answer a question before moving to the next judge.

The 10 preparing for the Work the Room challenge

Round 2 was for the top ten, and students had to work the room, beginning conversations, interacting with poise and ending conversations so they could meet as many people as possible.

Round 3 was for the top three and hosted by Superintendent Dr. Jon Rysewyk.  Contestants were interviewed and allowed to discuss three questions he selected.

Judges for all the competitions were volunteers from Knox County Schools, United Way of Greater Knoxville, LendingWise LLC, Lendio Marketplace, Clayton, ReMax Tri Star, Jupiter Entertainment, WVLT, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corportation, Emerald Youth Foundation, Shannon Foster-Boline Group from Realty Executives, Ossoli Circle and many more companies/ organizations.

Five judges from the community used a scoring rubric to choose the winner, Lochlyn Peek, a fourth-grade student from Sequoyah Elementary. LendingWise LLC will pay her expenses to participate in the Amazing Shake in Atlanta at the Ron Clark Academy, March 22- 24.

Event coordinator Katie Chollman said going regional was a no-brainer. It was the next natural step for their school competition, and they wanted to create an opportunity for more scholars to experience the excitement, challenges and pressure that only a competition like the Knox Regional Great Shake can create.

A second event coordinator, Casey Shaklin, said they knew after the practice round on Monday, the competition would be fierce and that on Tuesday, all the scholars brought their charisma, empathy, courage and leadership to the competition.

Sarah Delapp, founding chair of Dogwood’s Great Shake: “When we began this competition in 2016, we knew it was special. There is leadership potential within everyone, and the Great Shake allows our students to put their skills on display. We hope that we can continue to grow the competition so that all students in Knox County have the opportunity to participate, not only in elementary but also in middle and high school.”

Parents both inside and outside the Dogwood zone praised the event’s effect on their children.

Catilynn Benitez, fifth grade Dogwood parent, thanked Dogwood for giving her son, Cadeenn, a fantastic opportunity by  helping his self-esteem and confidence.

Brianna Mozingo, parent of Addison, a fourth grader, said The Great Shake has given Addison the opportunity to grow and to see what she is capable of achieving.

Jessica Shaefer Ruiz is the parent of Gabriel, a fifth grader at Brickey-McCloud Elementary. She said, “Thank you so much for offering this opportunity to those outside Dogwood Elementary School.  While my child is strong academically, this event challenges his soft skills, which don’t get a ton of practice.  It has put him outside his comfort zone, and growth happens when we are out of that zone. I look forward to seeing this event grow in the future.”

Community partner Kim Bumpas from Visit Knoxville shared her commitment to this event: “As a committed partner of the 2024 Knox Regional Great Shake, we understand the vital connection between nurturing local talent, community vitality and the tourism industry in Knoxville. These students, participating in the Great Shake, may very well be the future leaders who will shape our city’s landscape, impacting everything from tourism to economic growth. …”

Sarah DeLapp, The Great Shake co-founder from Dogwood Elementary School shared the event link:HERE to view the entire competition.

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