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Hays Speaking Contest 2013!
A week ago today, eight sophomores stood before the community as representatives of their respective American Literature classes in the Hays Speaking contest. This Academic Lens post from last year describes the contest and its aims, however, there is no better way to appreciate the work of these eight sophomores (and every other sophomore who wrote and delivered a speech to their class this winter) than to watch the students deliver their speeches in person.

Many thanks to Ethney McMahon for the videography included in this post!

Alex Van Raalte, above, was chosen as this year's winner after addressing the misdiagnosis of his brother's mental health condition in a personal, well modulated and effective manner. His speech not only looked at the ramifications of our mental health system and disease, but at the effects on those intimately involved with loved ones who suffer from mental health diseases. 


Ky Des Marais' rich language and heartfelt look at his learned Islamaphobia included a startling confession, and an equally powerful explanation of how a teacher transformed him and helped him recognize the role of the media and personal responsibility. His delivery and content earned him a second place finish in the contest.

Reid Miller's wry and humorous tone conveyed the process and acceptance of learning he had celiac's disease (gluten intolerance).  His speech medaled at third place, by effectively using a vivid, strong 'hook' to open his speech and including his appreciation for the range of suffering humans endure.

Fallon Adair delivered one of the most heartfelt and effective speeches of the night by comparing her previous school to Proctor in regard to the tolerance shown to others, especially in regard to sexuality.  Fallon wove her own growth and changes through her account of the challenges and opportunities she experienced in coming to Proctor.

Carl Liu stepped dramatically to the podium and delivered an impassioned tale of his early struggles in school alongside the loss of his distinguished grandfather in China.  His family pressure and support left him inspired and looking boldly to the future.

Kelsie Berry showed maturity and insightful reflection in conveying the years long saga of an addictive friend of her family.  She spoke of her role, and eventually, her ability to gain some perspective on this person's toxic influence that she eventually turned into an empowering lesson of her personal growth helping her family cope.

Liv Henriques' poise and polished delivery enriched her story of the contrast between the carefree youth we all enjoy before the burden of self consciousness and heightened awareness of body image.  Liv implored the audience to remain aware of the dangers in the media's treatment of female beauty.

Patrick Marks finished the night with a moving speech, in 3rd person, about the tragedy of a young man struggling to overcome addiction through high school and college.  Finally ahead of his problems, Patrick calmly delivered the story of how the young man's fate became tragically personal and profound.

Congratulations to all of this year's finalists and a huge thank you to the English Department, American Literature teachers and Peter Southworth for making this event such a meaningful experience for Proctor's sophomore class!
These eight sophomores exhibited incredible bravery standing before the community and delivering speeches written in their American Literature courses.
The Hays Speaking Contest would not be the experience it is for students, and the overall community, without the tireless work of Peter Southworth!
Alex earned first place in this year's competition!
Ky's speech earned him second place!
And Reid's combination of delivery and content earned him third place!
But even more important than who won is the experience afforded each sophomore as they brainstormed, prepared, and delivered heartfelt speeches to their peers. Well done sophomores!