News & Photos - Media Hub - McDonogh School

News & Photos

Sophomore Orators Say It Best

Pictured (left to right): Jack Zeiler, Avinash Thakkar, Kailin Hawes, Reagan Armstrong, Natalie Sung, and Maycie Blair.

The five sophomores who competed in the 39th Annual Sophomore Oratory Finals appeared completely at ease as they delivered compelling speeches to the audience of upper schoolers. Master of Ceremonies Kailin Hawes hosted the competition on the morning of Wednesday, January 16 in the Ceres M. Horn Theatre. Narrowed down from a field of 17 semifinalists, the five finalists addressed the following topics:

  • Avinash Thakkar - Affirmative Action
  • Maycie Blair - Sex Education
  • Reagan Armstrong - Body Image
  • Jack Zeiler - Seinfeld vs. The Office
  • Natalie Sung - Positive Effects of Watching TV

The winner and runner-up of the Oratory Finals will be announced at an assembly on Wednesday, January 23. This year’s judges were Daryl Burch, Katie Michaelson, and the 2018 Oratory winner Laya Neelakandan ’20.

The Sophomore Oratory Program is the culmination of weeks of work by the tenth graders. They select and research a topic that is important to them and spend many hours crafting a six-minute persuasive speech. The students deliver their speeches publicly for the first time during their English classes, and their peers select one orator from each class to advance to the semifinals. During the semifinal round, judges evaluate the classroom winners based on the quality of their arguments and the style of their delivery. The five finalists and the Master of Ceremonies are chosen from this group.