JHS Students, Rensel and Leon, Win Zone Level Optimist Oratorical Contest

Jamestown High School senior Matt Leon won the boys’ division of the Zone Level Optimist Oratorical Contest held in Lockport, New York and junior Alicia Rensel was the winner of the girls’ division. They competed against other high school speakers from Lockport and Rochester.

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. Both Alicia and Matt were students in Barbi Price’s College Level Public Speaking and English 9 AT classes at JHS.

“Matt delivered a well-organized, light-hearted speech, which began with him singing Irving Berlin’s ‘Blue Skies.’ He clearly impressed the panel of independent judges,” remarked Mrs. Price. “Alicia really raised the bar for the girl competitors and gave her thorough speech with poise and confidence. I am so pleased that they will be representing Jamestown at the New York State competition in April.”

Rensel remarked, “I am beginning to realize that both my specific public speaking skills and my general communication skills have greatly improved through this experience. I have learned to get out of my comfort zone and embrace anything that comes my way!”

“Speaking in front of judges is a great opportunity to receive feedback that I can use to improve my public speaking skills,” added Leon. “Writing, memorizing, and delivering the Optimist speech gave me a chance to explore my own optimism in a creative way.”

Rensel and Leon will travel to Utica on April 9th to compete against winners from across New York State for a state title and the chance to take their speeches to the national 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. For more information, contact Cindy Conner at ccquilter@hotmail.com.

posted on 03/07/2017 - filed under: Academics, Community, ELA, JHS, Spotlight, Students