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Middle School Oratory Winners Announced

Monday, December 12, 2016

St. George’s held the final round of the Cottonwood Oratory Festival on December 9th, naming winners in both the junior and senior divisions of the event. Fifth grader Emily F. won the junior division while eighth grader James H. won the senior division.

Founded 21 years ago by St. George’s teacher Mike Riemer, the festival aims to prepare students for public speaking along with building self-confidence and poise in front of an audience. In the early fall of each year, students from grades 5th to 8th select a written passage of their choosing including fiction, non-fiction, humor, satire and more. After months of preparation and memorization, students then perform their pieces in front of their fellow language arts classmates in the preliminary round. From that round the semifinalists are chosen to perform in front of their entire grade and judges, who narrow the finalists down to two from each grade for the finals, which are open for parents and guests to attend.

Language Arts Department Chair Tanya Musa emceed the event. She explained the exhaustive preparation undertaken by each finalist and congratulated them on their hard work. Between each division, members of the Lower and Middle School Chorus performed a selection of holiday carols under the direction of Dee Dee Johnson and Frank Convit.

The finalists in each grade were as follows:

5th: Emily F., Tam Lin by Jane Yolen
5th: Ben K., Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
6th: Brice K., Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
6th: Lucy W., The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
7th: Fiona C., Home by Warsan Shire
7th: Jack G., Bacon by Jim Gaffigan
8th: McKenna B., We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
8th: Kristall S., I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan
8th: James H., Penrod Jasper by Booth Tarkington

Special thanks to our guest judges for taking time out of their day to attend: Beau Fancher, Hayley Harang, Wayne Fontana and Laura Meagher. Congratulations to all of our middle school students on their hard work and courage throughout this event!

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