Blair’s top 10th-grade orators eloquently described “Where I Am” during the School’s 2019 Sophomore Public Speaking Contest, held on April 15. English department chair James Moore announced at School Meeting on April 19 that Lily Starrs '21, Xinye Lu '21 and Ashley Dai '21 won first, second and third prize, respectively, in recognition of their outstanding writing and delivery of their original speeches.
Sophomores prepared for the contest during their English classes by taking part in a variety of activities. They delivered short, impromptu personal speeches to their classmates, reviewed famous speeches to determine what qualities make for a good speech or speaker, and they took time to write outlines of their own five-minute speeches and review them with their peers. Students delivered their speeches to classmates, and each class helped its teacher decide who would advance to the contest.
The entire sophomore class and many members of the Blair community attended Monday evening’s competition in Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts’ DuBois Theatre. Faculty judges evaluated the speakers on content, presentation, pace, volume and inflection, and submitted their recommendations for the prizes.
The Sophomore Public Speaking Contest is one of many curriculum-wide opportunities Blair affords its students to hone their public speaking skills. “Freshmen write and film a speech for The Blair Leadership Stories Project, and the sophomore contest reinforces the importance of public speaking and builds confidence for future speeches,” said English teacher Kaye Evans, who coordinated the competition. She noted that this year’s prompt, asking students to describe a place that is special or meaningful, allowed them to think reflectively and write creatively. “Having the experience of writing and delivering a speech gives our students a good foundation in public speaking,” she added. “This helps them evaluate any presentation going forward.”
Click play below to view the winning speeches.