Next week, one of the great NCCS traditions will again kick off as the first class of 6th graders – Mr. Randolph’s – will deliver speeches on topics they care about. The other three classes will follow in the months to come.
Students pick a topic that moves them, write a speech about it, and then deliver the memorized speech to an audience of classmates and family members in our auditorium. Throughout the unit, they learn about speech writing and public speaking. They study great speeches, and even hear from some guest speakers (like me!). When I met with the class, we talked about everything from the power of a story in engaging an audience to the fact that, yes, I get nervous before my speeches too.
This week, in anticipation of the speeches, I received an invitation that lists the titles of the speeches the students will deliver. Reading them made me think of one of my favorite lines from our mission statement: “we respect childhood as an integral part of life.” Part of that respect is giving children the forum to respectfully and thoughtfully talk about topics that are important to them, and this list so perfectly reflects that.
Next week’s topics are: Save the Sea Turtles; Funding Cancer Research; Save the Polar Bears; The Need to Change School Starting Times; Why the US Needs Stricter Gun Control; Benefits of Service Animals; Benefits of Stuffed Animals; Why Plastic Should Be Banned; Distracted Driving; Childhood Drowning; Head Injuries from Youth Sports; Racial Profiling; Artificial Intelligence; The Environmental Impact of Plastic Bags; Gun Rights; Expense of Youth Sports; Unfair Rules by the NFL; and The Current Effects of Climate Change.
No matter what our own personal beliefs may be about such topics, this list is a wonderful affirmation of our students’ thinking and shows true respect for childhood in a pure form. These 6th graders have the opportunity to share their thoughts on a topic that is important to them and, in many cases, the topics are quite relevant in the greater discourse of our society as well. To be able to share their thinking on these topics in a memorized speech form is all the more impressive, and I greatly look forward to witnessing our mission in action while listening to the speeches next week.