Grade 8 Speech Festival: “I Had A Lot of Fun!”

Grade 8 Speech Festival: “I Had A Lot of Fun!”

On Thursday, May 9, Hawthorn welcomed guests and participants to the second evening of our annual Speech Arts Festival. Our Grade 8 students worked diligently to prepare for this event, writing, revising, and rehearsing speeches under the guidance of their English teacher, Dr. Miriam Helmers. Their efforts were richly rewarded in several ways: growing skill in oral communication, confidence, and character development. 

Each Grade 8 student wrote a descriptive speech developing a topic of her choice, including such alluring titles as After it Rains, The Lake of Paradise, and Flying Free. One enthusiastic speaker spontaneously reported afterwards, “It went really well! I had a lot of fun!”

We were fortunate and blessed to have with us for the evening the Distinguished Toastmaster, Janet Heidker. She is a certified world class speaking coach and a member of two advanced Toastmasters clubs. An international bestselling author, she teaches the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program here at Hawthorn. She is currently fulfilling her goal of teaching inmates in prison leadership and communication skills. 

Following the presentations, Ms. Heidker shared her expertise with each student. In her feedback, she reminded speakers to pay careful attention to the way they move with the stage, the way they come away from the podium, making a connection with the audience, using body language and vocal variety, gesturing with their hands, expressing themselves so the people in the back can hear them and stay engaged, reading their audience, and making sure they explain their terms, for example if they’re talking to an older audience who aren’t as familiar with their topic. The evening wrapped up with a celebratory sharing of lovely light refreshments.

Congratulations to each of our talented Grade 8 speech makers, and particularly to the following:

Honourable Mention: Olivia
3rd Place: Monica
2nd Place: Ainsley
1st Place: Naomi