On Wednesday, May 19, five Winsor seniors took to the stage (both in person and virtually) to compete in the 108th Annual Hemenway Prize for Speaking Competition. Alexis Vilmenay '21, Hillary Jean-Gilles '21, Becca Goldenson '21, Helen Buckley-Jones '21, and Marcus Eng '21 were selected by a panel of judges, with input from all Class VIII students, after hearing speeches from all 66 members of the senior class.
Head of School Sarah Pelmas introduced the seniors and spoke about the history of this annual competition and its roots in the Winsor value of speaking one’s mind. Student topics included something that they have learned, something that matters to them, or something they want others to understand from their perspective.
“Together they weave a picture of a class that is passionate about changing the world, honoring one another, and fighting for equity and justice everywhere,” according to Pelmas.
More than just a platform for soon-to-be graduates to showcase writing and presentation skills, the competition is a unique and powerful bonding experience. For one day each spring, the entire senior class comes together in the theatre, and listens intently as every member of the class delivers her own thoughtfully crafted, five-minute speech.
The judges for this year's competition are Winsor alumna Emily Fish ’05, and faculty members Sally Hatcher and Julia Harrison. The speeches will be judged based on substance, organization, style, presentation, and clarity. The winner of today’s presentations will be announced at Prize Day in June.
Established by an original Corporator, Harriett Hemenway, the Hemenway Prize for Speaking Competition traces its roots to 1913. The competition challenges seniors to develop and deliver a speech of substance, and reflects Winsor's long-held belief in the importance of public speaking skills and the ability to speak one's mind. A strong, outspoken woman and animal rights activist, Ms. Hemenway founded the Mass. Audubon Society in the late 1800s.