What in the world is ‘Keller Shake?’ Inside the district-wide competition to boost kids’ confidence

Keller ISD third and fourth grade students participated in the semifinals Thursday.

KELLER, Texas — Meet a Keller ISD elementary school student, and there’s a good chance you’ll get a very firm handshake.

On Thursday, third and fourth graders competed in the “Keller Shake” semifinals, a district-wide contest in which students are scored by their ability to shake someone’s hand, look them in the eye and confidently carry on a conversation. 

“What we’re trying to teach kids is you have a space in a room, and what you think and what you have to say is important,” said Kim Blann, director of fine arts in Keller ISD.

Blann told WFAA she’s blown away by the young students’ enthusiasm and eagerness to embrace the challenge.

“We have a little girl who told us that she told her mom, ‘I made the semis, I have to go out and buy a power suit!’ And she’s here in her pearls ready to go.”

Keller ISD mom Tina Clark’s daughter qualified for the final round Thursday.  

“I’m really excited about the skillset its developing for her,” Clark said. 

“With her being quiet, I really want her to step outside of that and be ready for future opportunities, so it’s been really great.”

Qualifying students are now looking forward to the final round later this month.

“When a stranger walks up to me and asks a question,” student Nathan Owens said, “I can answer it confidently.”

“When I get older,” fourth grader Melody Ukpong added, “I really want to teach younger kids how they can stand up for themselves and be more encouraged and not get nervous sometimes.”


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