Senior Speech finals, a much-anticipated event that is a highlight of the march toward graduation for the senior class, took place on Wednesday, May 8.
The topics of just the three finalists hinted at the range of subjects covered over the course of the year; students choose their topics, subject to the approval of the Director of the Speech Program, Upper School History Teacher Dr. David Rezelman. They work with an advisor from the Upper School faculty to research, write, and practice their speeches.
The three speakers were introduced by Cabell Jones, who was the runner-up this year:
Marissa Mejia: “Money and Happiness: The True Costs of Wealth” (Faculty advisor: Mr. Neil Duffy, Upper School Physics Teacher)
Katherine Barbour: “Having the Cake and Eating It Too: Abolishing the Right to Deny Service on a Religious Basis” (Advisor: Mrs. Jennifer Scott, Director of College Counseling)
Jacob Knapp: “The Clean Power Plan: A Plan to Save the Planet” (Faculty Advisor: Ms. Sarah Goodson, Assistant Director of the Upper School and Biology Teacher)
The students are selected as finalists as a result of grades given by the Upper School faculty over the course of the year. The finals competition is judged by a panel of three guests, all with speaking and writing experience, from the Hampton Roads community. The winner of the finals competition receives the Class of 1952 award at graduation.
This year’s judging panel:
Rear Admiral Larry C. Baucom, USN (ret.): After a distinguished career in the Navy, RADM Baucom serves as a consultant to the Navy and as president of the World Affairs Council of Hampton Roads;
Ms. Kerry Dougherty: Ms. Dougherty had a long career as as a reporter, editor, and columnist on local issues for The Virginian-Pilot, and she currently writes a blog;
Dr. Craig Wansink: Dr. Wansink is a professor of religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan University and Director of the Joan P. and Macon F. Brock Center for the Study of Religion Freedom.