The Optimist Club of Winston-Salem held its annual oratorical contest on Monday, March 18 at Ardmore Church of Christ.
The 10 contestants all attend Paisley IB Magnet School and are in Marshall Marvelli’s English I class. The English curriculum at Paisley includes a public speaking component, so the oratorical program was a perfect fit. Marvelli, who has made the Optimist competition a part of his curriculum, had his 9th grade students write and present their essays in class. He then choose the best to participate in the contest.
The contest is held annually by the Winston-Salem club in coordination with Optimist International’s contest of the same name. Phyllis Elliott, Diana Chew, Anna Carolina Pelaes, Monet Beatty, Caroline Phon, Tristan McGuire, Jayson Williamson, Alexander Holt, David Hill Jr. and Zach Skillings were selected for the competition.
The annual local competition is held in conjunction with Optimist International, which selects a theme for the contest each year. “Why My Voice is Important” was chosen this year. In constructing their essays and presentations, students were charged with examining their own self-worth and how they can make a difference.
They were judged by Wake Forest University Professor Allen Lowden, Winston-Salem State University Professor Soncerey Montgomery and Bob McHone, a broadcaster and motivational speaker.
McGuire and Elliott won the competition. They each took home gold medals. Silver medals went to Chew and Williamson, while Pelaes and Holt took home bronze medals. McGuire and Elliott will now advance to the zone level competition in Thomasville on Tuesday, April 9. If they advance there, they move on to the District round, where they could win scholarship money from Optimist International.