On Thursday night, seven Proctor students presented in the Meeting House as part of the 18th Hays speaking contest, while earlier in the week President Obama delivered his farewell address to the nation from Chicago. The seven Proctor students shared their insights to several hundred, while the President shared his with millions. He is a practiced orator, well-known for his grace and passion and his ability to seamlessly cross-thread the reality of a time’s complexity with belief in democracy’s better future to weave a hope we all might share. He inspires with his message, his delivery, and his integrity. One might expect there to be a gap in performance between the speech of a president and the speeches of sophomores in high school, but to be honest? That gap felt minimal on Thursday night.
The work of Proctor’s English Department, specifically American Literature students, will take center stage Thursday night at the Annual Hays' Speaking Prize. While this is certainly the most public display of work by students, these speeches are just the tip of the iceberg of the learning take place in the lower floor of Maxwell Savage Hall.