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Senior Speeches are one of the school's most hallowed traditions, the culmination of a program in public speaking that begins in first grade with Boy and Girl of the Day.

During this and each school year, seniors gave speeches on topics of their choosing. Beginning over the summer and continuing into April, they presented daily after working with advisors, who provide advice and encouragement but leave direction up to the student. The speeches, several minutes long and made in front of the entire Upper School, prove invaluable both in strengthening public speaking and teaching students about preparation and current events. In addition to presenting, students are responsible for researching and writing.

Teachers evaluate and grade each of the speeches. On April 21, three members of the Class of 2023 took to the Johnson Theater stage for an ultimate culmination, the Senior Speech Finals. This annual event recognizes the three seniors who received the best grades during the year. Those students delivered their speeches again for their classmates and a panel of outside judges.

  • Tara Tavakoli's speech, Changes to Our Libraries Are Long Overdue, addressed the need for equitable funding of libraries. Her advisor was Catherine McCallum.
  • Ruby Garrison's speech, Profitable Progress: The Private Sector as Problem Solver called for the private sector to play a greater role in fighting poverty. Her advisor was Jack Gibson.
  • Annabelle Dyer's speech, Autism Acceptance: The Missing Puzzle Piece in Elementary School Curriculum, argued for better education about autism in elementary schools. Her advisor was Rich Peccie.

This year's judges were Debbie Bauman, assistant dean of the College of Health Sciences at Old Dominion University; Lauren Kiger, director of philanthropy for Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters; and Norfolk Circuit Court Judge David Lannetti. The winner will be announced at Graduation in May.⁣ ⁣

In addition to the finalists, 20 seniors who earned distinction for their senior speeches were honored at the event. They were Henry Allgeier; Antonia Baudoin; Micah Baum; Quinn Carroll; Nancy Chandler; Sienna Frederic; Madison Galler; Owen Johnson; Lucas Knapp; Audrey Permenter; Mackenzie Peterson; Alden Roberts; Annamarie Russell; Lauren Schill; Rebecca Schill; Jane Stewart; Liam Sullivan; Julia Wainger; Fred Ward; and Will Ward.

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