On November 21, 40 seventh and eighth graders from 20 elementary schools in the Diocese of Sacramento convened at St. James School in Davis for the annual Diocesan Speech Contest.
While participation is optional, schools have brought students consistently for more than two decades to share their carefully-honed speeches.
Laurie Power, associate superintendent of Catholic schools, says a 2019 "tweet" on Twitter from Pope Francis promoted this year's speech topic, which invited students to address "How can you yearn and strive to live as a saint"?
Students competed in two rounds before Toastmaster judges, delivering their three-minute speeches with hope to be one of five finalists. The final five presented again and awaited the results. All finalists receive the honor to share their speeches on the Bishop's Radio Hour.
"These kids are rock stars!" Laurie says. "Their poise and confidence are second to none," she adds, celebrating how "they memorize their speeches and deliver them with passion and conviction."
In photo above, winners of the 2019 Speech Contest, left to right: Liam Bizjack and Ivan Mansour (tied for first place), St. John Notre Dame School, Folsom; Eliza Young (second place), Holy Spirit School, Sacramento; Lola Fillion (third place), Holy Family School, Citrus Heights; and Katelyn Harden (fourth place), Holy Trinity School, El Dorado Hills. This was the first time in the history of the annual event that two contestants tied for first place.
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