Fifth and Sixth Grade Orators Deliver

When the speakers presenting in the annual Fifth and Sixth Grade Oratory took to the stage in the Horn Theatre on Friday, March 10, they were calm, cool, and concise. McDonogh’s Oratory Program, which formally begins in Middle School, illustrates that with plenty of practice, it is possible to overcome fear and deliver a speech with confidence and poise.

The fifth grade oratory process begins in January when students search for the perfect oratory selection. Students then spend countless hours memorizing their selections, after which they present them in English class. This year, seven fifth graders were selected to showcase their skills by delivering riveting speeches to the audience of their parents and peers. Two of their classmates introduced the speakers.

In sixth grade, each student writes his or her own oratory, as do seventh and eighth grade students. The students compose personal essays in the style of National Public Radio’s This I Believe… series. They write about what they believe to be true, based on personal experience. As emcee Alex W. ’23 explained, “Sometimes students come upon the truth as a result of tough lessons, and sometimes these truths become evident through deeply satisfying experiences. However they come about, these beliefs inspire change.”

The five sixth grade finalists shared a variety of beliefs in their speeches, each with intriguing titles including: “The World’s Alarm Clock,” “Chocolates and Choices,” and “There is no ‘School’ in the Word ‘Homework.’” Congratulations to all the speakers and to those in the audience. We look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

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