Many people rank public speaking just above the fear of heights and pit viper bites. That was not the case for the ten students who participated in the 49th Coronado Optimist’s Oratory Contest on March 2nd in the Coronado Library Winn Room. The rhetorical topic, which all thought quite challenging, was Just Imagine a World Without Boundaries.

The room quieted as the student addressed the boundary theme. The judges reviewed content, poise, presentation, confidence, and speech quality. Pride and enthusiasm hovered over the presenter’s family and friends.

Indeed, there were rhetorical differences between contestants, but the speaker’s confidence blended across all participants. Angst and crowd-fears were carefully managed and overshadowed by their self-assuredness.
One thought to themself what an enjoyable learning experience this contest provides and how speaking skills would be so essential in their future in academic, career, and informal settings.

The contest ended; judges left the room to score the individual presentations. Parents gave hugs to their son or daughter and congratulations were shared with families and contestants. When the judges returned the Coronado Optimist Club President Dennis Dorman and President-elect Robert Kracht presented each student a well-earned Certificate of Participation and then presented the Gold Medallion to Fatima Morfin, the Silver Medallion to Aidan McKerring, and the Bronze Medallions to Valeria Lopez. Fatima and Aidan now move on to the district Zone 2 contest. Congratulations to all!

Judges for the contest were Paul Lull, George Kunberger and Mike Croll, with Sue Cargill serving as timekeeper; Marta Radcliffe and Jon Jacobson as greeters/curators; Pat Kelly, Sergeant-At-Arms; Lee Cargill, photographer; Mike Lavin, contest scribe; and Gene Rathswohl, contest coordinator – Optimist Club members all. And special thanks goes to Courtnie Marshall, Sacred Heart’s Language Arts teacher who worked so diligently to prepare the students.

Left-to-right: Valeria Lopez (Bronze Medallion); Fatima Morfin (Gold Medallion); and Aidan McKerring (Silver Medallion)

Meet the Judges