By RANI CHOR
Three Wilson students competed in the annual Hacienda La Puente Unified School District (HLPUSD) Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) student oratory contest on Jan. 31.
Competitors utilize critical thinking, confidence and research skills to craft a speech reflecting this year’s theme: “Leading to Make a Difference.” The top three speakers in the district were invited to compete as semifinalists at the HLPUSD Board of Directors building.
Overseeing the results of the competition are district-certified teachers and administrators who judge students on their ability to inspire the audience to mentor future leaders.
As a semifinalist, senior Sabrina Shyong believes that an understanding of the audience is crucial when giving a strong speech.
“The last thing you want to do is walk into a speech feeling unconfident. [Personally], I looked at the audience as if they were just people who wanted to hear my insight on the topic,” Shyong said. “I was very scared since I had to [recite my speech] first, but by reaching out to the hearts of the audience, I know my words left an impact.”
According to junior Curtis Lee, writing his speech proved to be an eye-opening experience.
“I felt confident and passionate as I was giving my speech, because the topic really resonated with me,” Lee said. “The prompt of this competition was how we as leaders can make an impact through small actions, [which taught] me how I can change in small ways rather than in [one] grand gesture.”
Ultimately, speech advisor Samuel Barone is proud of the hard work that students put into their speeches.
“I have been the advisor for more than a decade, and I have learned so much from these [talented] students,” Barone said. “[They] put a lot of preparation, hard work and practice into their speeches, learning [from] the experience along the way.”
The next speech competition will be the Lions Club Student Speakers Contest at the Monterey Park Dynasty Lion Club on Feb. 9.