Thursday evening provided the Proctor community an opportunity to hear seven sophomores share speeches during the 13th annual Hay's Speaking Contest. As discussed in this post, the Winter Term affords all sophomore English classes the chance to embark on a speech writing process that explores personal journeys, influential moments or social commentary.
The seven finalists gave their speeches in front of more than two hundred students, families, and three volunteer judges. John Pendleton, a former Proctor faculty member, trustee and parent joined former Social Science Department chair, Connie Appel, and Colby-Sawyer College Humanities Department Chair, Thomas Kealy, graciously gave their time to critique the speeches.
Cortland led off the night with a moving tribute to his family friend, Mr. D., who refused to suffer from his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, and instead lived life to his fullest.
Bowen followed Cortland's speech with insightful commentary on the selfishness of human nature and its unfortunate permeation of American society.
Brooke was the third finalist to give her speech, and whether or not you were personally connected to the heart-wrenching situation she discussed, you could not help but be moved by her words and her conviction to affect change in the world.
Margot, who stunned the community with her musical ability in last month's talent show, once again controlled the stage through her poetic cadence and heartfelt plea for everyone to find passion in their lives.
Sawyer's investigation into the value of individualality within a community ended with the thoughtful refrain, "Can you break out and create change in society without breaking society?"
Emi's political commentary on the food industry shocked many with its statistical analysis of corruption and misinformation.
Last, but not least, Harrison gave a moving testimony about his calling as a firefighter and his most recent experience responding to a call two weeks ago right here in Andover.
Last year's winner, Jacob, hosted the event and summarized what everyone felt at the end of the night when he commented, "Congratulations to all the finalists who were courageous enough to stand on stage and share a piece of their lives with us. However, the winner of this event does not matter. The Hay's Speaking Contest is a means, not an end. Every sophomore who prepared and gave a speech to their individual classes should be congratulated for what they have accomplished." Congratulations to all tenth graders for completing this part of your Proctor journey, and thank you for sharing your stories with the community!
Congratulations to Cortland on being selected as this year's Hay's Speaking Contest winner!
Brooke's speech on the effects of child abuse earned her a second place finish in the contest.
Emi's third place speech was incredibly well-written!
While judges select the top three speeches each year, last year's winner, Jacob, said it best when he commented, "The Hay's Speaking Contest is a means, not an end."
All sophomores should be incredibly proud of their efforts to look inward as they developed personally meaningful speeches.
Thank you to everyone, especially to Peter Southworth and the English Department, who helped make this year's Hay's Speaking Contest a success!