Students Excel in District Speak Up Contest

Students Excel in District Speak Up Contest
Posted on 04/14/2022

     Reading, COVID-19 vaccines, healthcare workers, Fred Rogers, and 3D printing were a few of the topics of the night as students from the Mountain View School District (MVSD) competed in the District’s annual Speak Up Contest.  Following the contest theme: “COVID-19 brought our attention to people who have promoted positive impacts on the world. Think of a person, idea, or technology that has had a positive effect on the world. How can you help carry on this legacy” each speaker shared, in a two to four-minute speech, their opinions on people, ideas or technology that has positively impacted their lives and our world.  

       Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from Monte Vista, Parkview and Twin Lakes schools confidently stepped up to the microphone to present their creatively written, well-researched and articulately delivered speeches.  Judging the students in the areas of content, delivery and language were members of the Toastmasters and district administrators who were greatly impressed by the young public speakers.

     Each contestant made it to the District level contest after taking top honors in their school’s speak up contest.  With the support of their teachers and coaches they each spent many hours researching, writing and perfecting their speeches. 

     This year’s 6th grade participants included David Cruz from Monte Vista School, Derek Pineda from Twin Lakes School and Emily Jimenez from Parkview School.  The 7th and 8th grade contestants included Michelle Garcia, Donny Gomez and Cesar Nunez from Monte Vista School, Octavio Moreno, Alejandro Dena and Ariana Cordoza Cruz from Parkview School, and Hayden Nguyen, Ana Serrano and Kenneth Rodriguez Solano from Twin Lakes School.  Providing outstanding support as Speak Up Coaches were teachers Belinda Hyde from Monte Vista, Laura Gorgonio and Cynthia Avila from Parkview and Dr. Kenny Bowman and Deyanira Guzman from Twin Lakes. 

     Joining family members and friends in attendance to support the students, Board of Education members, school and district administrators and staff all agreed the 12 speakers were phenomenal. 

      “Our Speak Up contestants always do a fantastic job and again this year the group of contestants were very impressive,” said Veronica Sifuentes, Board of Education Vice President.  “I enjoyed hearing their views on people and ideas that have had a positive impact and it was wonderful to hear how they plan to carry on the legacy and continue to make a positive difference in our world. They all were remarkable and we are very proud of each one of them.” 

     After reviewing the scoring sheets discussing and tabulating, the judges emerged from their tough job with the results.  Placing first in the 6th grade division was Emily Jimenez who spoke on the positive impact of reading.  Taking second place was Derek Pineda whose speech focused on the positive impact of COVID-19 testing and third place went to David Cruz who shared the positive contributions of Katalin Kariko, the scientist behind the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.  The 7th and 8th grade division winners included first place, Alejandro Dena, who spoke on the dedication and impact of teachers.  Second place went to Ariana Cordoza Cruz, who highlighted the incredible work of healthcare workers. Ana Serrano placed third with her speech on the impact of Dr. Patricia Bath, a pioneering ophthalmologist who became the first African-American female doctor to receive a medical patent after she invented a more precise treatment of cataracts, and earning an Honorable Mention was Hayden Nguyen who conveyed how the pandemic lockdown had a positive effect on animals and the environment.    

     “It feels amazing to win.  I’m very happy and excited,” said Alejandro Dena, 7th/8th first place winner.  “Everyone did a great job and it’s been a great experience.”

     “This was my first time doing public speaking and I was really nervous at first but I felt more comfortable as my speech went on,” said Derek Pineda, 6th grade second place winner. “I worked on my speech and practiced for about two months so it’s nice that things went so well tonight and I won 2nd place.”

    MVSD Superintendent, Raymond Andry applauded the student speakers for doing something that so many people find challenging.

     “It takes guts and determination to get up in front of a crowd and speak,” said Andry, addressing the contestants.    “You all showed incredible courage and presented your speeches with great poise and confidence. We are so proud of all of you.  I want to thank our Speak Up coaches for their efforts to support our students and provide them with such a wonderful opportunity. This is our first in-person event since the pandemic and it’s really been wonderful.”      

     The District Speak Up Contest is one of many academic enrichment activities MVSD offers to enhance the educational program and provide students the opportunity to express their views and develop skills that will help them in their high school, college and career journeys.    

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