Upper School Students Impress Judges with Compelling Speeches

Jack Fallon '20 began our Upper School Speech Contest by welcoming guests and introducing our judges for the event: Nora Elish, Lower School Head at The Dalton School, former Lower School Teacher at Allen-Stevenson, and parent of A-S Alumni Andy Elish '03 and Jamie Elish '06; Bruce Knecht, A-S Lower School parent and A-S tour guide; Harry Frank '75; and Freddy Isquith '97.
 
The audience was wowed by all of our contestants, who impressed with their mastery of challenging, clever and controversial topics.
Winner of the 2019 Speech Contest was Manas Ramesh '21, who fought to bring attention to Leif Erikson’s underappreciated role in history. Said Manas, “Leif Erikson travelled to North America 400 years before Columbus and deserves to be honored for his outstanding exploration skills and for being the first European to discover Canada… Erikson deserves his own holiday and kids should be taught his story.” Congratulations to Manas for his thoughtful and compelling presentation!
 
First Runner Up, Lawson Wright '20 challenged the audience with a question from the beginning: “How many of you [students] can name the 3 branches of government? Hopefully that’s all of you. That fact alone means that you are already more qualified to vote than 75% of American Adults.” Among his arguments, Lawson posed that lowering the voting age will increase voter turnout and create lifelong voters by establishing a habit at a young age. The judges applauded Lawson for challenging them to consider a topic that was new to them.
 
Raam Melvani '20, Second Runner Up, won the judges with his portrayal of social media as “an omnipresent monster causing us to be unproductive, jealous, and depressed through cyber bullying.”
 
A huge congratulations and thanks to finalists Gabe Jaffe '21 and Henry Adkins '19 for their compelling speeches on Venezuelan migrants and standardized testing.
 
Thanks as well to our alternate speech contestants, Jack Hegenbart '21, Vivek Laddha '20, and Austin Baxter '19.
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Allen-Stevenson’s distinctive “enlightened traditional” approach educates boys to become scholars and gentlemen.