Boy or Girl of the Day
Clarity and effectiveness of oral and written expression are stressed throughout a Norfolk Academy education. Building self-confidence and effective oral communication begins in the first grade. Lower School students rotate being Boy or Girl of the Day and giving short presentations to the class. The Boy or Girl of the Day program allows even our youngest students to develop important habits of preparation, public speaking, and leadership throughout their Lower School years.
The Ninth Grade Speech
We continue to develop these important habits in Middle School, where students have many opportunities to present in the classroom. The Middle School public speaking program culminates in the ninth grade, when each student prepares and presents a 5-7 minute formal speech to the Middle School students and faculty. Ninth graders work closely with the librarians and their faculty speech advisors to choose a topic, conduct research, formulate a point of view, write and practice presenting their speeches. It’s a rite of passage that leaves students feeling confident and accomplished as they head off to Upper School.
The Senior Speech
As a requirement for graduation, each senior researches, writes, and delivers an eight-minute persuasive speech before the assembled Upper School faculty and students. A faculty advisor, assigned to each senior, works with the student to establish deadlines, check bibliographic sources, read drafts, and practice delivery. That advisor's preparation grade counts 20% of the senior's speech grade; the other 80% of the final grade is taken from the average of all faculty grades, based on content and delivery of the speech. Near the end of the school year, the top five speakers then participate in the Speech Finals, held before the Upper School body and a panel of off-campus judges. The top speaker, selected by those judges, is announced at graduation and receives the Class of 1952 Speech Award.