Building Confidence

Lower School students polish their public speaking skills at the Speech Meet.

Palms sweaty, mind racing, she looks into the eyes of the judges, about to recite the poem she’s been preparing for weeks now. Once she begins, the words flow perfectly.

“There is one word –

My favorite –

The very, very best.

It isn’t No or Maybe,

It’s Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, YES!”

Over one hundred students competed at the Lower School Speech Meet, and three students from each grade qualified for the ACSI District competition in March. Judge Julie Lunsford said, “We had a lot of students participate. They were all really prepared, and they are learning to speak well in public and have confidence.”

Speech Meet categories included poetry, Bible memory and fable and folklore. First grade student Lucy Berthelot qualified for the district competition. She said, “I did poetry. My poem was called ‘My Favorite Word’ by Lucia and James Hymes, Jr. I would say the hardest part of the poem is having to say the authors’ names.”

Many of the students get nervous talking in front of the judges, but Lucy does not. She said, “I get to talk in front of the judges, and I love to talk. It’s my favorite thing. I think it’s helped me because now I don’t have to be nervous, and it helps me with my small talk.”

Third grade student Malia Williams also competed in poetry and will move on to the District competition. This is her second year to qualify, and she knows practice will help her do well. Malia said, “My favorite part is how you get to use your voice. It’s good practice for when you have to do a meeting when you are older.”

Second grade student Job Palmer will compete in the Bible Memory category at the ACSI District competition. Job said, “My favorite thing about Speech Meet is that I get to spread the Bible.”

The Speech Meet is part of the Lower School foundation for Communication Arts, and it is one of the many ways students are encouraged to memorize scripture and hide it in their hearts. “The Lower School Speech Meet gives students in First through Sixth grade the opportunity to gain confidence and encouragement in the area of public speaking and performance. It’s fun to see how much they grow in their ability from year to year. I consider it one of the highlights of my job,” said Communication Arts Director Meg Parker-Wilson.

“Yes, yes, you may,” and

“Yes, of course,” and

“Yes, please help yourself.”

And when I want a piece of cake,

“Why, yes. It’s on the shelf.”

Some candy? “Yes.”

A cookie? “Yes.”

A movie? “Yes, we’ll go.”

I love it when they say my word:

Yes, Yes, YES! (Not No.)

– Lucia & James L. Hymes, Jr.