April 24, 2018 – After two rounds of presentations (last night and this afternoon), there seems to be a new rhythm, and it is a quicker pace than in years past.
With a larger senior class than ever before, there was a need to make adjustments to the process. Since the first senior class of 2012, the students have written a 20-40 page research paper, cut it down to about seven pages, memorized it and presented it orally before judges and the community. After their presentation, they defended their claim to questions from the judges. At times, it could be considered stressful or intense. And they did it beautifully.
This year, there would not be time for everyone to present 12-minute speeches and address questions for 10 minutes afterwards, or else the week-long schedule would have had to double. Rather than go for two weeks, the Rhetoric teachers and administration chose to cut out the defense/question portion and trim down the speeches. So now the speeches are about seven minutes long and the defenses were done a few weeks prior, allowing students to further refine what they chose to express in their orations. “The new schedule allows students to focus on their oratory skills and the defenses were able to go deeper and longer given their private nature,” said Rhetoric teacher, Dr. Andrew Selby.
Upper School Principal Wendy Massetto said, “I really like the new schedule. I wasn’t sure that I would, but I was always so stressed out for the students as they spoke and especially when they had to answer questions on the spot. I think the fact that it’s less to memorize and the defenses are already done helps them be more prepared and concise in what they share with the community.”
Presentations continue tonight. Find the full schedule here: