Courage, like leadership, comes in all forms. Today we recognize the beautiful bravery of our sophomore class as they all stood before their peers to take part in Proctor's 22nd Annual Hays Speaking Contest.
The brainchild of former trustee, parent, and English teacher John Pendelton, this annual speaking contest for the sophomore class is named in honor of Bowdoin College debate team standout and former Proctor Academy trustee Bill Hays. The eight finalists, nominated by their classmates, took the stage and delivered powerful speeches to a hybrid in-person and virtual audience. While we recognize the eight finalists with photos in this blog post, every sophomore should be acknowledged for their efforts. Each embarked on a powerful journey over the past two months, a journey that involved identifying a meaningful topic, conducting research, and the writing and practicing their speech for hours and hours. Like most good educational experiences, it is in the process that growth takes place, not just the end result.
Judges Chris Bartlett '86, Joan Saunders, and Katie Bunten-Wamaru listened and provided valuable feedback to each of the finalists on Monday evening. After much deliberation, Maddie '23 was selected as the 2021 Hays Speaking Contest winner for her speech titled, "The Glamorization of Mental Illness". Congratulations, Maddie!
Samantha '23 earned second place from our judges with her speech, "The Media’s Effect on Native People".
Caleb '23 (above) tied for third place with his speech, "What America Means to Me" alongside Grace '23 (below) and her speech, "Perilous Perfectionism".
Niko '23 delivered a powerful, heartfelt speech on "Toxic Masculinity".
Eliza's '23 (above) incredibly brave speech titled "Delete This" elicited powerful emotions from those in attendance, while Will '23 did a great job composing his speech, "The Power of Your Voice".
Lastly, Sophie '23 (below) shared her journey with perfectionism with a powerful delivery in her speech, "Climbing the Mountain".
Congratulations to each of this year's finalists. All students, faculty, and staff can access recordings of these speeches on our internal Hays Speaking Contest website, but, due to student privacy, we will not share these speeches publicly. Thank you to this year's organizers of the Hays Speaking Contest Peter Southworth and Mark Tremblay, and to our Tech Team of James Cox and Seth Currier for being the mastermind behind sound tech and broadcasting/recording the event for us. Well done, Team Proctor!