Fourteen finalists competed in Westminster’s sixth annual Fourth Form Public Speaking Contest on April 29 that was attended by members of the Fourth Form and faculty. It was held for the first time this year in Werner Centennial Center.
The competition is the culmination of the work Fourth Formers completed in the Speech Writing and Public Speaking course they took during the winter and part of the spring trimesters. Students in the course were asked to write and then deliver two speeches. The second speech served as an entry into the contest.
Each student selected a topic of their choosing and then was asked to try to relate it to one of the themes from their Civic Engagement course last fall. They then prepared an original, persuasive speech that they presented to their class section. Following this round of competition, students from each section were selected by their teacher and teaching assistants to be finalists in the competition for the Westminster Fourth Form Speaking Prize.
The finalists were Will Beckford, Mariama Camara, Francesca Carnovale, Ella Clofine, Elizabeth DiBlasi, Bianca D’Onofrio, Ava Lynch, Tia MacDonald, Maggie McCarthy, Emma Mason, Catherine Rodrigues, Paige Smith, Whitney Stroh and Bella Ursano.
The final round of speeches began with faculty member Todd Eckerson, who is the lead teacher for Westminster’s Civic Engagement curriculum that includes the Speech Writing and Public Speaking course, welcoming everyone in attendance and giving credit to the course’s teaching assistants: Aleyna Baki, Shay Benjamin, Francesca Bradley, Jane Burke, Sun Min Cho, Sofia Daniele, Elle Dorrian, Margot Douglass, Lilly Marvin, Olivia Olney, Sydney Schuster, Ariel Seidu, Hudson Stedman, Wheatley Sutro, Campbell Swift, Tatiana Retrepo, Casey Winslow and Benno Wurtz. “We really could not run this course without them,” said Todd.
Twelve of the finalists presented their speeches in person and two via video. A faculty panel of judges, who included Sara Anderson, Erika Brewer, Charlie Griffith, Amy Stevens, Rebeccah Tuscano-Moss, Bryan Tawney and Peter Ulrich, selected a winner who was announced May 7 at assembly as Tia MacDonald.
“The students gave a spectacular set of speeches!” emphasized Todd.