Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Reghin Speech Competition

Native English speakers can have somewhat of a celebrity status in schools around Romania. Many times, the students in these schools have only ever heard the English language from native speakers on television or in movies. Katie and I have had several opportunities to speak about holidays or what schools are like in America since we've been here. On November 9th, we had a very special opportunity: we were asked to judge an English speech competition!

I have to admit that I was a little excited to be a judge of something like this! (I was imagining myself among TV talent competitions and their judges!) The competition itself is a Romanian national competition in which there are local, county, and national levels. The Romanian winner actually gets to compete at an international competition and cultural exchange in London. 

We were asked to be judges of the speeches in our city of Reghin. There were students from all three of the high schools in the city. I judged the 11th and 12th grade group, while Katie was with the 9th and 10th graders. Each student gave a prepared speech on the topic of, "Integrity has no need of rules." The speeches were two-and-a-half (for 9th and 10th graders) or five-and-a-half (for 11th and 12th graders) minutes long. After each speech, the audience asked two questions that the speaker had to answer (and be judged on). After hearing all of the speeches, we met to decide on first, second, and third places as well as honorable mentions. We were also able to give feedback to the students about what we observed and how they can work on their speeches for the next level of competition.

Katie and I were very impressed by the abilities of these students. Preparing a speech on integrity would be hard enough in one's first language! These young people were able to put together thought-provoking speeches and answer questions on the spot. Congratulations not just to those who won, but also to all those who participated! Congratulations, also, to the teachers who have worked so hard to prepare these kids for this competition. Not only did they do a great job with public speaking, it's also obvious that they are communicating well in English! Bravo and good luck as you go on to represent Reghin at the regional competition in Targu-Mures!
One of the speakers presents as Katie judges
Sharing feedback with the 11th and 12th graders
Katie sharing her thoughts with the 9th and 10th graders
11th and 12th grade participants and teachers
9th and 10th grade participants and teachers (we are on the far left)

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