On Wednesday, April 16, five Winsor seniors took to the podium in the Goel Theater to compete in the 106th Annual Hemenway Prize for Speaking Competition. Victoria Cadostin '19, Araybia Goodlow '19, Lia Kornmehl '19, Clare Westerman '19, and Julie Wilson '19 were chosen by judges, with input from all Class VIII students, after hearing speeches from every member of the senior class.
More than just a platform for soon-to-be graduates to showcase writing and presentation skills, the time-honored tradition is a unique and powerful bonding experience. For a full day in early April, the entire class sits side-by-side in the theater and listens as every member of the class delivers her own thoughtfully crafted, five minute speech.
With candor and courage, they share stories "of challenges, of successes, and of the battles still to be fought. They talk about their connection and love for one another, and their futures," reflects Head of School Sarah Pelmas. And each year, they cheer loudly in support, share laughter and tears, and emerge with a deeper appreciation for one another - and their time at Winsor.
"I am so incredibly proud of the five speakers and their beautiful presentations. The speeches were all very different, and we saw a wonderful range of experiences and styles," says Ms. Pelmas. "To a person, they delivered them so well, with passion and care, dramatic emphasis, expert pacing, and poise. I am always glad for the conversations that the Hemenways bring to the school, and so happy that the younger students have these seniors as role models for speaking about what matters."
The judges for this year's esteemed competition are Winsor alumna Katherine McCord '02, Director of the Virginia Wing Library Alice Stern, and math faculty Thomas Wensink. The speeches will be judged based on substance, organization, style, presentation and clarity, and the winner will be presented with the Hemenway Prize for Speaking at commencement.
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.