Amazing Shake: Elementary school students participate in soft skills competition

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MADISON, Ala. - Heritage Elementary students in Madison participated in a unique competition on Thursday.

Amazing Shake is a competition that focuses on soft skills, like handshakes, eye contact and professionally navigating a room.

Students carried a scorebook and judged graded them on skill sets.

In one of the challenges, fifth-graders were asked to enter a room, shake some hands and start a conversation with an adult who graded them with little to no sympathy.

"We are going to take the top 2 boys and 2 girls to the national competition in Atlanta," said Kara Lawrence, a 3rd-grade teacher at Heritage Elementary School.

The challenges only got harder, from motivating a locker room with the team down 15 points to giving a toast at the dinner table.

One competition centered around a product pitch. Students memorized lines and drank a drink in front of the judges. Only, the students didn't know that pickle juice was added. The goal was to test the students under pressure and see if they could deliver under surprise circumstances.

In a digital age, these skills are harder to come by, but programs like this are changing the narrative.

"They (the students) realize this is going to be something that can carry me. Some of these kids have goals. They let you know right off the bat, I'm going to be a CEO one day," said Kara Lawrence, a 3rd-grade teacher at Heritage Elementary School.

Teachers at Heritage say it can be hard to get students interested in growing their soft skills, but after showing videos of the skills in a competition, many students are eager to learn.

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