2019 Henderson HS Boys Speaking Contest
Nick Washington, Michael Bonsall, Trey Conrad
Love was the topic of this year's winning piece at the Henderson High School D. Webster Meredith Boys Public Speaking Contest.
Senior Michael Bonsall won first place with his dramatic reading of We are Defining Love the Wrong Way, written by Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.
"I wanted to finish strong. I've been doing this contest for three years. I wanted to bring up a topic that connects with the audience and also myself. Love is a huge topic for a community – loving each other, showing that we love each other. I think it was a great way to end everything," said Bonsall.
Sophomore Nick Washington came in second place with an excerpt from the novel The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. His piece focused on self-image and how it influences one's personality.
Third place went to junior Trey Conrad who performed a powerful excerpt from the 1947 book Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. The memoir chronicles Frankl's experience as a prisoner in four different Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz.
The D. Webster Meredith Boys Speaking contest is one of the longest standing traditions in the West Chester Area School District dating back to 1890. The competition is fierce - close to 100 boys tryout each year while only eight make the final cut. Students are required to audition in front of a panel of staff members. The contestant then chose a staff member who serves as a mentor and coach leading up to the competition. Contest coordinator and Henderson Latin teacher, Janet Booze, approves each student's selection and verifies that it had never been performed publically. The students had roughly six weeks to rehearse with the help of a faculty coach.
The students performed before a live audience consisting of students, teachers, parents, and community members. They are judged on their audience awareness, projection, inflection, diction, pacing, and movement.
The Janet Walton Girls Speaking Contest is held in the fall.