Speaking on stage in front of strangers can be a scary experience for anyone, but a cast of 18 Buffalo middle school students brushed off any feelings of stage fright, Wednesday, as they competed in the Buffalo Public Schools’ 112th Annual Richmond Speaking Contest held at Roswell Park Cancer Center.
The 7th and 8th graders were the finalists in the oratory competition, with presentations that had to fit within a three to six minute time frame. The speeches were memorized, and students had to speak loudly and clearly enough to be understood in Roswell Park’s Hohn Lecture Hall, without a microphone.
Dr. Fatima Morrell is Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction for Buffalo Public Schools, which sponsored the speaking contest.
Morrell said the Richmond Speaking Contest, named for Henry A. Richmond, who founded the competition, helps students build their public speaking skills.
“They are confident, they are on stage in front of so many, and as a middle school student that is a pretty courageous feat–to get up in front of all these dignitaries and board members and administrators and then their peers.”
First place winner, was Alana Rosario, an 8th grade student at School #33, the Bilingual Center. Rosario’s speech was in English and Spanish, and it stressed the importance of being multi-lingual.
Additional trophies were awarded to Danasia Coleman of School #37 who won Second Place, Third Place winner was Jayda Cooper of School #32, and Fourth Place went to Emmanuel Sindima of School #89.