Persistence — and a lot of learning and practicing — have finally paid off for the winner of this year’s “Great Galesburg Shake.”
Galesburg High School Sophomore Natalie Nelson has competed in the “Shake” — which educates students on various communication and social skills — each year since it was created in 2015.
This year, Nelson was voted by a group of community leaders after the final round Monday night.
“The first year I participated, I was in sixth grade. I didn’t even make it past the preliminary round,” says Nelson. “This year, I’m the winner of the Shake and I’m thrilled. I think it’s pretty obvious that my skills have progressed, and it’s been — according to the Shake — it’s helped me with my confidence levels. It’s helped me with talking to people. It’s helped me with so many different things that I can use in life.”
Things that District-205 Superintendent John Asplund told the crowd during the live final round at the Orpheum Theatre have largely gone by the wayside as youth spend more and more with their noses buried in computers and smart phones, but are essential as the students find jobs or trade schools or colleges.
One could say, however, that the most important communication-based skill of all, is to be gracious in defeat.
“You really have to not focus on the fact that you didn’t win, and more focus on the fact that…you now have this experience, and you get this opportunity once again to compete,” says Lilyan McNally, the second place finisher and another repeat competitor. “I know I’m definitely going to do this next year. We need to really respect not winning more in our…society, because it give you the opportunity to take what you learned and go and use it next year.”
Pictured: Natalie Nelson (left) and Lilyan McNally