Donavan Payne ’18 Clinches Woodbury Win

On Monday, November 13, Austin Kwoun ‘18, Jeff Price ‘18, and Donavan Payne ‘18 took part in the Woodbury finals. Following a superb semifinal, there was great anticipation for the second round, and each speaker delivered wonderfully.

Kwoun spoke about how he chooses to pursue more subjects that interest him. Kwoun is a fan of baseball, especially advanced baseball metrics, which measure a player’s performance more thoroughly than traditional stats such as ERA or batting average. Thus, Kwoun decided to take AP Statistics over Latin, even though he had taken Latin for several years. While he hesitated to switch at first, he is glad that he decided to enroll in his preferred class.

Price talked about his evolution from a timid child to the proud young man he is today. When he was young, Price could not pronounce his name properly, so he called himself “Jesh.” From elementary school until he came to Belmont Hill, Price remained uncomfortable with his voice and aimed to become a new person at Belmont Hill, to become Jeff instead of Jesh. However, Price was shy in the classroom at Belmont Hill, and his teachers often commented on his lack of participation in class discussion. Eventually, though, Price grew into the person he is today: someone confident enough to speak for five minutes in front of the whole school. Price encouraged everyone to try to be themselves and to not be afraid of what others think.

Payne, the eventual winner, delivered a powerful speech about how he has become an active member of the Belmont Hill community. In his opening sentences, Payne connected with the audience, and he never looked back. His message, to wield the powerful voice we possess at Belmont Hill responsibly, is a lesson pertinent to everyone. One of Payne’s key points involved the childhood maxim “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” and how that phrase may no longer ring true in today’s society. Whether one will use their words kindly or disrespectfully is his/her own choice, but Payne’s speech emphasized the importance of kindness, as one does not know the effect his words have on others. All in all, another excellent Woodbury season came to a close, leaving behind many important messages for all members of the school to consider in daily life.

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