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Saugus Union students give speeches

Public speaking: Fifth- and sixth-graders compete at the podium in the district’s Toastmasters Speec

Posted: May 3, 2010 10:26 p.m.
Updated: May 4, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Students from the Saugus Union School District speak at the district's Toastmasters Speech Contest on April 22. One student from each of the district's 15 elementary schools gave speeches on topics like pop culture, politics and social issues.

 
Youngsters from the Saugus Union School District recently took the podium to address topics like pop culture, politics and social issues as part of the district's Toastmasters Speech Contest on April 22.

One student from each of the district's 15 elementary schools competed in the event. The goal was to teach the students a valuable life skill, said Joan Lucid, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

"If they are comfortable standing in front of a group of people presenting themselves then we've given them successful tools for their future," she said.

The fifth- and sixth-graders gave persuasive speeches, each running less than five minutes.

Sixth-grader Jill Young spoke on the topic "Why farmers should stop producing palm oil in a way that is harmful to orangutans."

"I was nervous, but after a while I got more confident," she said.

While Young managed to make a controversial, but little known, practice engaging and interesting, other students chose a lighter touch.
One student gave a breezy speech on the television program Lost and why everyone should watch it.

Sixth-grader Kyra Turley from Santa Clarita Elementary School tied with Connor Lewis of Tesoro del Valle Elementary School for third place. Turley's speech focused on helping people with special needs while Lewis spoke on the need for charitable donations.

Turley arrived at her topic after her 10-month-old sister was diagnosed with Down syndrome.

"We've been really blessed by her because she's the easiest baby by far," Turley said. "She's so loving."

Lewis laced his speech with humor, relating the fact that he received some money for his birthday and was torn between spending it on a video game or donating it to charity. Balancing anecdotes and emotion was tough, Lewis said.

Such a wide array of topics speaks to the students' individuality and the ability to process information in a media age, Lucid said.

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