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St. Charles Tropicana Speech Contest Experience Delivers a Winner

         St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School participated in the 2013Tropicana Speech contest for the second year. All 6th grade students were guided through the speech writing process under the direction of Mrs. Amanda Sneeringer, Language Arts, Literature, and Science teacher. A majority of students had an awareness of the competition as 5th graders who watched the prior year’s classroom winners. High expectations were set for the students to expand upon those achievements in year two.


          To begin the process, Mrs. Sneeringer started with a recommended lesson from the contest officials. This lesson included attributes to give a proper speech as well as on how to choose a topic. Students watched video speech deliveries of several of the 6th grade winners from 2012. A class discussion involved speech presentation methods and organization of the content. Viewing these speeches helped give students ideas on topics from which to choose and how to capture the audience using these topics.


          In class, students began with short 30-second practice speeches. This experience allowed students to hone a topic that worked best for them and work out some nerves typical for students speaking in front of their classmates. The focus remained on delivery and content organization as students extended the length of their speech. A rubric was the guide throughout the writing process and the same rubric was used to assess the students.


          During the practice speeches classmates were encouraged to give constructive criticism to improve classmates’ speeches. Mrs. Sneeringer commented, “I was very impressed with their recommendations. Comments ranged from ‘add something funny to keep the audiences’ attention’ or ‘end with something inspirational’ to advice on how to reorganize ideas.” From the feedback provided, the students did have the option to keep the same topic and expand on the content for their longer speech.


          The classroom competition was held using the official competition judging sheets.  All students truly enjoyed this day in class. The class gave standing ovations on several occasions. The top 5 students were chosen from each of the two 6th grade classes to compete at the school competition.


          The school competition took place in the SCBCS Social Hall. Several younger classes were invited as well as the 6th grade parents . This competition was judged by three different judges, one of which was a student judge that participated in this competition as well as an oration class offered by St. Charles. Staff members totaled up the scores to announce the top three winners.


3rd Normandi Tapia

2nd Meghan O’Grady

1st Brooke Sheaf


          Overall, the Tropicana Speech contest was a true success at St. Charles. The class gained substantial knowledge about speech delivery, speech writing, and research techniques. Students remained composed and professional in front of their peers and an extended audience. The younger students were engaged and are excited to go through the same process when they are in 6th grade. Our winner from St. Charles, Brooke Sheaf, went on to win 1st place at the Orange County competition, and will be competing in districts on May 11.  St. Charles wishes her and the other competitors luck at their next competition.  
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