Speech Arts Festival Finale: Grade 12 Master Discourse Presentations

5 grade 12 students from Hawthorn School for Girls dressed up in business casual wear, standing with one of the speech arts judges

The crowning glory of Hawthorn’s annual Speech Arts Festival took place on the evening of May 16, with the Grade 12 Master Discourse Presentations, enhanced with the vocal support of family, friends, faculty, and staff, and sustained by a pizza supper and light refreshments. MDP stands as a significant interdisciplinary endeavour embarked upon by our graduating students. It involves several key stages, starting with the selection of a thesis topic that bridges content from Grade 12 English and Philosophy with at least one other Grade 12 course. Students then delve into research, crafting, and, finally, delivering their thesis (ranging from 6 to 10 minutes) to a panel, during which they are also asked to orally defend their position. This experience is intended to facilitate students’ transition to post-secondary education and designed to encourage students’ improvement in the skills of critical thinking, research, analysis, writing, presentation, and public speaking.

We were fortunate to have two distinguished guest judges for this event: Toastmaster and international bestselling author Janet Heidker, and Dr. Diana Petrarca, Associate Professor and Founding Member of the Faculty of Education at Ontario Tech University. Each judge provided invaluable, individualized, constructive feedback about presentations related to topics, progression of arguments, and presentation effectiveness.

Our warmest congratulations go out to our amazing graduating class for this final evening of our celebration of the spoken word. Their choice of subjects, reasoned defence arguments, and presentational prowess and agility left us in true admiration. The list of speech titles gives an idea of the depth and breadth of thought that went into this culminating project:
– Salma Abuzaiter, Unraveling Twitter’s Political Web: Navigating Propaganda and Media Literacy ;
– 
Nicole Monges-Moran, The Ethics of Animal Testing: Is It Right? Are There Any Alternatives? ;
– 
Emma Bernadette Morse, The Importance of Suffering ;
– 
Emilia Toth, The Death of Detail and the Curse of Minimalism ;
– 
Sabrina Yu, The Axiom of Choice’s Acceptance in Mathematics .

Cheers to you, Gr. 12 speakers! 

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