JHS Senior Matt Leon New York State Optimist Oratorical Winner

There were “nothing but blue skies” for Jamestown High School senior Matt Leon, as he won the New York Optimist Oratorical Contest in Utica on April 8th. Competing against other district winners from across the state, Matt received perfect scores in poise, presentation, and creativity as he delivered his memorized four-and-a-half minute speech before an audience and panel of judges. Leon’s speech was especially interesting because he started by singing a refrain from “Blue Skies” by Irving Berlin.

“Beginning his speech with a song was a novel way to capture the audience’s attention,” remarked his public speaking teacher, Barbi Price.  “And it came as no surprise that he received perfect scores in presentation because his verbal pacing and articulation are wonderful, and he exudes a kind of confident optimism. I am so pleased that all his hard work paid off and proud that yet another JHS student has the opportunity to compete at a national level.”

Leon added, “Participating in these increasingly difficult Optimist Speech contests has given me a chance to explore my own optimism in a creative way. Along the way I’ve gained confidence and honed my delivery. I am very excited to represent New York State at the national competition.”

The topic for this year’s speech was: “What the world gains from optimism,” which Matt wrote for an assignment in Mrs. Price’s College Level Public Speaking class.

Matt will represent New York State at the National Optimist Oratorical competition at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on June 14, where the winner receives a $22,000 priz

posted on 04/13/2017 - filed under: Academics, ELA, JHS, Spotlight, Students