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The final week of this school year kicks off with an exciting and popular tradition - Ninth Grade Speech Finals.

Norfolk Academy prepares students for public speaking through a rigorous Speech Program. Included in that are the ninth grade persuasive speeches. With the support of a faculty advisor and librarians, each student makes a presentation, between 5 and 7 minutes long, before the entire Middle School. Faculty members grade each speech, with the top scorers for the year advancing to the Finals.

This year's finalists: Antonia Baudoin, James Hostutler, and Kristin Houston. They presented via Zoom to a crowd of about 150, on Tuesday afternoon, May 26.  

Antonia's speech, Current Marketing Strategies, discussed how companies, especially those selling fast food, cigarettes, and alcohol, exploit young people with their advertising. She argued that the government should add regulations to prevent these practices.

James's speech, Returning the World Back to Civility, argued college campuses should do a better job of allowing free speech, even if it is controversial. Free speech encourages critical thinking, while preventing it creates bias, Hostutler argued.

Kristin's speech, Renewable Energy: The Rise of a Cleaner Planet, argued the government should provide incentives for renewable energy. Such energy will slow global warming and is becoming more cost-effective, Houston argued. 

The winner will be announced during a virtual ceremony Thursday night. 

Coincidentally, Michael Hostutler, James's brother, was a Senior Speech Finalist. Senior finalists made their presentations earlier in May, and the award for the best senior speaker of academic year will be given at Graduation, which has been re-scheduled to July 26, if circumstances allow.

Congratulations to all three finalists, and to all the students throughout the year! 

Elizabeth Staub, English teacher and director of the Ninth Grade Speech Program, applauded students before they entered the Memorial Day weekend.

“Completing your Ninth Grade Speech is a rite of passage that you have navigated with passion, determination, and enthusiasm," Mrs. Staub said.


Please read more about our entire Speech Program, including Boy/Girl of the Day and Senior Speeches.

Antonia Baudoin

Antonia Baudoin '23

James Hostutler

James Hostutler '23

Kristin Houston

Kristin Houston '23

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