This year’s group of Woodbury semi-finalists and finalists delivered powerful, moving, and entertaining speeches that continued the contest’s tradition of excellence. The semi-final round gave the judges an especially hard decision to make, with great speeches from all of the semi-finalists. Senior Kailen Richards had the entire chapel laughing with his speech littered with double entendres. Junior Sam Atalla also gave a thoughtful speech about his family and a certain tradition he still shares with his brother. Junior Dan Moran also gave a thought-provoking speech about perspective which had almost everyone in the audience questioning the veracity of his story-telling. While all three of these speeches were exceptional, it was Bobby Cooper ‘23, Daniel Rashes ‘22, and Ethan Sidman ‘24 who would go on to the final round.
On Friday, April 29th the school gathered in the Hamilton Chapel to hear the speeches from the three finalists. First, Ethan Sidman ‘24 gave a great speech about the nature of a handshake and how it was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, Bobby Cooper ‘23 delivered an insightful message about his complex relationship with his father and the various struggles both he and his Dad have had to face throughout his life. By being vulnerable and giving a clear message, Bobby showed a side of him that very few of his classmates had ever seen – including me. Lastly, having been sidelined due to a positive COVID test and delivering his speech via zoom, Daniel Rashes ‘22 gave an inspiring, entertaining, and well-crafted message about his career at Belmont Hill, particularly in relation to athletics. Confident and self-assured, Daniel spoke of his experiences on the 3B soccer team and how he made lasting friendships without being the most talented or committed athlete on the team.
Overall, the speeches given during this Spring Woodbury season were very inspiring, and the Panel congratulates all who participated and this spring’s winner, Daniel Rashes ‘22.