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Junior High Holds Annual Speech Competition

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Eighth graders Rajat Ramesh, Logan Kapit, seventh grader Anika Dham, eighth graders Maia Fernandez Baigun and Sachita Jariwala, as well as seventh grader Gauri Kasarla were all among the speech contest winners. (Photo/Jason Kapit)

In the outside world, public speaking is a must. Every year, Heritage requires both junior high and high school students to participate in a speech competition. This year, twelve hand-picked junior high students argued their chosen topics.

The process begins with in-class preparation and research. Ten topics are given to the students, and they must choose one to persuade their audience to support or oppose their position. Topics include controversial issues such as digital media in education, beauty pageants, media sensationalism and participation trophies. Each student must give his or her speech to the class. Teachers then carefully choose six students whom they think showcases the most well-supported and well-delivered speech.

Next, the most fluent speakers go on to a run-off round. In this round, the contestants are narrowed down so that only twelve remain, six from seventh grade and six from eighth grade. This year’s seventh grade contestants were Anika Dham, Lauren George, Sophia Hai, Jonah Jacobs, Gauri Kasarla and Samantha Stevens. The eighth grade contestants were Maia Fernandez-Baigun, Megan Guthrie, Sachita Jariwala, Kristina Karam, Logan Kapit and Rajat Ramesh.

The twelve contestants gathered in the Upper School Library April 12 at 6:15 pm and gave their rehearsed speeches. At the end of the night, eighth grader Logan Kapit took home third place with his speech opposing minors being tried as adults, winning $300 to spend on campus. Last year, Kapit won second place with his speech about the effect video game violence has on the human brain. Seventh grader Gauri Kasarla claimed second place with her speech supporting the use of animals for testing products intended for human use, winning $400 to spend on campus. Eighth grader Rajat Ramesh won first place with his speech supporting mandatory vaccinations, along with $500 to spend on campus.

“Speech was a great experience. Though I was very nervous and stressed, it was fun to talk about vaccines,” Ramesh said.


Joanne is a senior at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. As a third-year staffer and second-year editor-in-chief, she loves immersing herself in the journalistic field and writing for her publications. Outside of newspaper, Joanne is also co-president of the English Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta math honor society, where she also serves as the student delegate state secretary. Among the other clubs she is a part of, Joanne is also secretary of the linguistics team and Chinese Honor Society, as well as treasurer for Quill and Scroll. In her free time, Joanne loves practicing her photography and going to concerts.

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