Prize Speaking Competition Braves 102nd Year

Upper Schoolers took to the stage for the over century-old tradition of the annual Prize Speaking Competition this week. For a remarkable 102 years, dating back to World War I, students selected various excerpts to present. Once their selections were approved in October, they auditioned in November for a chance to perform in the Prize Speaking Competition.

In opening up the event, Upper School English Teacher David Terrell shared that prize speaking provides “….lessons on how to be brave—first, with the stories themselves, but more importantly, with each storyteller’s palpable act of courage. Like us, the competitors are terrified to get up on the stage, but they’re going to do it anyway because something has inspired them to speak to us—to speak for us. Let’s hope it’s contagious.”

With no video, no soundtrack nor microphones, our brave contestants carried the audience to the land of make-believe with their performances. The Upper School audience enjoyed speeches of four finalists participating in the 2018 competition:

  • Amarah Friedman ’20 excerpted “When She is Old and I Am Famous” by Julie Orringer.
  • Hope Pohlmann ’20 excerpted The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
  • Fiona Richards ’21 excerpted Beowulf (author unknown).
  • Athena Tharenos ’20 excerpted The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner.

While the judges evaluated the performances, the MICDS Strings Ensemble received a standing ovation after performing “Rock of Ages” arranged by Yoel Epstein and “Carol of the Bells”.

The applause continued when Amarah Friedman was declared the 2018 winner of this year’s Prize Competition. Per tradition, her name will be inscribed on the famous Dartmouth Cup.

Upon reflection of the competition, Amarah shared, “One of the reasons I love participating in this competition is that it gives me an opportunity to send a message to the Upper School and everybody listening. For me, selecting the piece is as important as rehearsing and presenting it, so I chose a piece that was fun, a bit whimsy and held depth for the audience to reflect upon.”

Congratulations to all of our prize speakers not only for their engaging speeches but also for their bold expression of courage!