Sophomore Speech Saga
By McKenzie Wegner
Eminem perfectly describes the fear of public speaking in his song “Lose Yourself.”
“His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy...he's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready, to drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin', what he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud, he opens his mouth, but the words won't come out, he's chokin', how, everybody's jokin' now.”
As January rolls around, sophomores begin to feel the pressure and fear of the sophomore speech contest.
The sophomore speech contest began in each english class on February 27th. The semifinals on March 6th led to six finalists that competed on March 10th in the Gordon Gym. The judges announced the winner of the contest after all the finalists had presented.
The winner, Andres Felix, presented his sophomore speech on the topic of abolishing the death penalty.
Felix, from Laura Roberts’ class, almost didn't make it to the semifinals as he was voted to be an alternate.
After three students from Roberts’ seventh period class were voted in, but one student decided they didn’t want to move on to semifinals, giving Felix the chance to participate.
“After I barely made it to the semifinals, I thought I am not going to make it to finals,” said Felix. “And then I made it to finals and I thought I am not going to win, and here we are now.”
The sophomore speech contest has been around for more than 35 years at NHS. The tradition is one of the most well-known around campus.
Many students view the sophomore speech contest as too much work, or scary because they've never dealt with public speaking.
Maya Treppa, the winner of the sophomore speech contest in 2016, wrote her speech on the sexualization of women in the media.
“I think what helped me the most out of everything was the passion I had for my topic,” said Treppa. “Because I believe so strongly in women’s rights and for us to be portrayed in a realistic way, it was easy for me to write and memorize a speech about it.”
Treppa’s passion for her topic was what the judges noticed, and led to her ultimate victory.
Kathryn Korff, an english teacher, believes that the passion students adapt for their speech topic is very helpful to their presentation.
“It's fun to see the process of the students thinking this is too much work, I am never going to be able to get in front of the class and speak,” said Korff. “And by the time they do all of their research and they are passionate about it, they are really proud of themselves.”
Eminem ends his song “Lose Yourself” with these powerful lyrics that perfectly capture the feeling sophomores experience after completing their speech.
“You own it, you better never let it go, You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow,
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime you better (lose yourself), You can do anything you set your mind to…”