JHS Senior Matt Leon Wins Optimist Oratorical Speech Contest

Seven Jamestown High School students participated in the 2017 Optimist Oratorical Contest at the Winifred Crawford Dibert Boys & Girls Club.  JHS senior, Matt Leon won first place, JHS junior, Alicia Rensel placed second, and JHS junior, Jon Sandstrom came in third.

The topic for this year’s speech was: “What the world gains from optimism.” Each written speech had to be memorized and fall within a four to five minute range. The seven students who competed were sophomore: Sarah Russo; juniors: Henry Malarkey, Jon Sandstrom, Alicia Rensel, and Ethan Glatz; and seniors: Lucas Lassinger and Matt Leon.  All are students in Barbi Price’s College Level Public Speaking class at JHS.

Winner Matt Leon said, “I’m really grateful to the Optimist club for this opportunity to get in front of real people and practice the public speaking skills we’ve been practicing in school. Public speaking is important for just about every career, and now I’m much more prepared for my future.”

Mrs. Price remarked, “Participating in this oratorical competition gives my students another chance to craft, memorize, and deliver speeches before a panel of objective evaluators. It’s a valuable “real life” experience, and the representatives from JHS comported themselves beautifully. The judges commented on the difficulty of deciding the winners because all of our students were so poised and polished!”

“Public speaking has really taught me a lot of life skills that I will use in the future,” commented second place winner, Alicia Rensel. “I used to be very scared of speaking in front of people, but the skills I’ve learned this year have made me much more confident.”

Matt, Alicia, and Mrs. Price will travel to Lockport in February to compete at the “zone” level. The ultimate prize is a $22,000 college scholarship.

Optimist Clubs are dedicated to “Bringing Out the Best in Kids” and do their part through community service programs. Since each club is autonomous and run by members in their community, Optimists have the unique flexibility to serve the youth of their area in any way they see fit. Optimist Clubs see a need in their community and react to it. For more information, contact Cindy Conner at ccquilter@hotmail.com.

posted on 01/26/2017 - filed under: Academics, Community, ELA, JHS, Spotlight