Speak Up Contest Features Dynamic Student Speakers

Speak Up Contest Features Dynamic Student Speakers

     Social media, computers, cell phones and digital devices were the topic 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: “Are Technology and Social Media Positively or Negatively Affecting Communication” each speaker presented compelling speeches, conveying their thoughts.

       Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from nine of the district’s 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 Language Arts teachers from Mountain View High School, Amy Minick, Stephanie Luna and Danielle Rizo.

       “I’ve been judging the Speak Up Contest for a few years now and I’m always very impressed with the quality of the speeches and the poise and confidence of the students,” said Minick. “They all made some very strong points for both the positive and negative ways technology and social media have affected our communication.  They made our job as judges very difficult.”   

        The speakers were split, with half viewing technology and social media negatively impacting communication by taking away face to face communication, interrupting family time, hindering spelling and vocabulary development and providing the opportunity for cyber bullying and half sharing that technology and social media have positively affected communication by expanding our ability to connect with friends and family across the world, communicate instantaneously and assist in emergencies.    

      “This is such a great event for our students, providing them the opportunity to not only conduct research and write a speech but to be in front of an audience and confidently express their views on the topic,” said Adam Carranza, Board of Education Member, and himself a former Speak Up contestant.   “I have great memories of participating in the Speak Up when I was a student at Madrid.  Year after year the students continue to amaze and inspire me with their speeches.”

     Each of the 16 contestants was a winner in their school level speech contest and did a great job representing their schools at the District level competition.  With the support of teachers and coaches from their schools they each spent many hours researching, writing and perfecting their speeches.  This year’s sixth grade participants included Jessie Lopez , Cogswell School, Lesly Pineda, Monte Vista School, Jacqueline Medina, Parkview School, Mymy Dang Nguyen, Payne School, Nayeli Zoquiapa, Miramonte School, Amber Anguiano, Maxson School, DeAdalene Olmedo, Madrid Middle School and Alexis Amaya from Twin Lakes School.  Seventh and eighth grade contestants included Alexa Cardenas and Angela Martin from Monte Vista School, Berenice Benitez, Miki Lam and Isabel Polehonki from Kranz Intermediate and Lynette Savala, Zina Balmaceda and Haley Nguyen from Madrid Middle School.

     Placing first in the sixth grade division was Cogswell School’s Jessie Lopez.  Taking second place was Nayeli Zoquiapa from Miramonte School and third place went to Lesly Pineda from Monte Vista School.  Earning an honorable mention was Jacqueline Medina from Parkview School.

        “It feels really good to win!” said first place winner, Lopez.  “I was nervous at first but it was fun.  This is my first time doing public speaking and I liked it a lot.” Lopez’s speech conveyed her thoughts that social media and technology are negatively affecting communication by causing addiction, neglect and a lack of social skills among users.  

      The seventh and eighth grade division winners included first place, Angela Martin from Monte Vista, second place, Berenice Benitez from Kranz Intermediate, third place, Alexa Cardenas from Monte Vista and honorable mention, Lynette Savala from Madrid Middle.   

         Admitting she loves her cell phone and social media, Martin’s speech covered both positive and negative effects they have on communication.  She encouraged people to find balance in their usage and do everything in moderation.

           “Social media and technology have definitely changed the way we communicate,” said Martin.  “There are 2.8 billion users worldwide and it has decreased our face to face time and family time but it’s created a lot of good as well.  People just need to use it in moderation.” 

      Miki Lam, a 7th grader from Kranz Intermediate was nervous about giving her speech but found the experience quite fun.

     “I practiced my speech for about three weeks and this was my first time ever doing public speaking,” she said.  “Leading up to the tonight I was nervous but once I was up on stage I really liked it.  I hope I have other opportunities to speak in public and I hope I can compete again next year.”

      Along with many family members and friends in attendance supporting the students, Board of Education members, school and district administrators and staff all agreed the speakers were exceptional.

      “Once again our student speakers were fantastic,” said Lillian Maldonado French, MVSD Superintendent.  “It takes incredible courage to speak in public and their finely written speeches made some very strong points regarding the positive and negative affects technology and social media have on our communication.  I’m very proud of all of the contestants and grateful to the school site coaches for providing such an extraordinary experience for our students.”

     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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