This year’s Woodbury Speeches featured three finalists, Will Marra ’23, Nate Voss ’24, and exchange student Ben Anderson from South Africa. The three boys all advanced from the same semifinal after impressive speeches, where Marra described the repetition of a ski jump until triumph at last, Voss advocated for the importance of participation in US Elections, and Anderson gave, by memory, a speech about first impressions and his time thus far in America, which received with a standing ovation by the Chapel.
In the finals, Anderson began his speech with a prelude, in which he thanked the Belmont Hill community and particularly his hosts for welcoming him as a member of the family. He then described the many facets of identity, in, once again, a memorized speech and Public Speaking skills that showed why he is a member of the South African National Public Speaking Team.
Will Marra introduced his speech by discussing his three keys to a fulfilling life, citing exercise, sleep, and food. After thanking Coach Markham for checking the first box, then stating he has given up on completing the second, the focus shifted to the third part, food. He describes the old system of food, and how he struggled through the day, only slightly nourished by a snack bar egg sandwich and a few cookies but mostly anticipating a great lunch, only for his hopes to be let down by discovering that all the food has already been eaten by the time the dish comes his way.
Ballroom dancing was the topic of Nate Voss’ speech, in which he described the nightmare it seemed to be when he first was informed that he was attending just one day earlier. He comedically described the nervousness which clouded his mind through the Friday and during his tenure at the class, and his fear of going unpicked when he had to select a partner to dance with. Alas, Voss was picked and at first was fearful of judgment by other students and by his dancing partner, but he describes the moment he began to converse with her, and “my fear and nervousness melted away…(Later) I walked out of the dance hall…with a heck of a lot more confidence”.
This speech by Nate Voss reigned victorious, and he was selected as the winner, although certainly a tough choice considering the competition he faced not only in the Finals. All three speeches were fantastic, and The Panel congratulates all who participated this Fall.