MILTON — Avalon Middle School has taken the Amazing Shake Competition and added their own touch to the event - they are including all their students in the competition.


The competition teaches young students manners, discipline, respect and how to conduct themselves in a professional environment. Students from Avalon, Sims and Hobbs middle schools are participating.


“We took it and made it our own,” said Latricia Laurant, teacher at Avalon and the school‘s competition coordinator. “This year we have two autistic students and one student with a speech and language condition competing.”


Laurant said the school has included all students, exceptional student education and general education student populations, in all education activities and events.


The results have been outstanding, she said. ESE students are gaining confidence, general education students are learning acceptance. The student body is learning about equality and developing new social skills.


Laurant said most schools limit participation in the Amazing Shake Competition to honor roll students.


“We open it to everyone,” she said.


Teachers recommend students for the competition. Participation is also open to students that have had a discipline problem.


“Everybody deserves a second chance,” Laurant said.


The competition has five phases for district-level competition. In phase one through three, students compete against classmates. In phase four, students from each participating school compete against each other.


Only 12 of the 41 Avalon students participating made it past the first phase, the round-robin conversational interviews held Feb. 3. The students introduce themselves, shake hands and start a casual but professional conversation with a volunteer community professional.


Those 12 students proceed to the second round Feb. 18 and 19 at Studer Group in Pensacola for mock executive job interviews. Five will proceed to the next round.


The Douglas A. Dillon Center in Milton will host round three on Feb. 24. The top five students will "work the room” and network with professionals. Three students will advance.


On March 4, three students from each school meet at the Navy Federal Credit Union complex in Pensacola. They will make a boardroom pitch to NFCU executives. Their sales and presentations skills will be evaluated and if the pitch is good enough NFCU will use it. One student from each school will pass to the final round.


The fifth round is at Jackson Steakhouse in Pensacola on March 11. Students from each school will demonstrate professional dining etiquette. One student will be named as the district winner.


“Next year, we are aspiring to send the top three to the National Amazing Shake Competition in Atlanta, Georgia,” Laurant said.


The Amazing Shake Competition was created by Ron Clark at the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta.