Spellman Oratorical Contestants Explore “The Other”

KODAK Digital Still Camera

April 14, 2022

The annual Spellman Oratorical Contest was held on Wednesday evening, April 13 in the lecture hall.

This year eight seniors presented their essays on the question of how literature and art explore the experience of otherness and thus provoke a reevaluation of biases and perceptions in the process.

The Spellman Oratorical contest provides not only the opportunity for seniors to explore important aspects of art and literature but also distributes prize money which each year is given by the Ellen Conway Spellman Foundation to the winners of the essay/oratorical contest.

This year Ava LaBollita received the grand prize of $1200 for her essay which discussed the otherness of the characters in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Out of My Mind.  Her essay also encouraged people to read literature in order to break down walls.  “Exploring otherness will help expose previous biases toward those different from us and also bring us closer together… we can also get one step closer to understanding the experience of the other.”

In second place was Olivia Jones who received $1000 for her speech which focused on the characters in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and the screenplay Legally Blonde.

Third place ($700) went to Kathleen Nee who explored the theme of otherness in Beowulf and Wicked.

Fourth place ($500) was won by Leah Leonard for her essay on the Lord of the Flies and The Kite Runner.

Fifth place ($300) went to Madison Smith.  She discussed two novels and one novella, “The Metamorphosis,” Farhrenheit 451 and The Giver.

Sixth, Seventh and Eighth place were awarded in no particular order to Dan O’Brien, Christa Pollard and Callie Gillan.  They received $100 each.  O’Brien spoke about The Lord of the Flies and Othello; Pollard’s thesis concerned the need to read works by authors who themselves are “others” such as Zora Neale Hurston who wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God; Gillan’s essay focused on Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird. and on Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby.

English teacher Chris Neal was the master of ceremonies. He introduced each contestant and the judges who included Karen Bonn, Steve Waisgerber and Christina Kelly who are all RHS graduates.  Contestants were judged on delivery, content, diction and poise.  The essays were between 500-1000 words and were chosen out of a larger pool of submissions.  The contest is open to any RHS senior.

Monalisa Almeida was also chosen as a finalist but she was not able to attend the contest on Wednesday night.

Congratulations to all who participated!

Here is the link to a video produced by WRPS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmlv4ZRTORA&t=1s

Posted on April 15, 2022, in Features, News. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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