For students delivering a speech in a new language, the opportunity to learn English takes on a competitive edge.
Students from five district high schools participated in such a contest at Fremont Union High School. The English Learner Speech Contest launched in 2008 with 150 students now includes more than 300 students for whom English is a second language.
“The idea is that every student gets to experience making a speech and feeling accomplished for putting in the hard work,” said the founder of the competition Welton Kwong, the district’s English Learners Program administrator.
After selecting a topic which they researched for a month or more, students gave a three to five minute memorized speech. They chose from topics such as the Ebola outbreak or how to become a ninja.
According to Sue Larson, communications coordinator for the high school district, students gain new self confidence in their ability to speak English when making the speeches.
“Students are given the opportunity to demonstrate what they are capable of achieving by presenting something that is difficult to do, thus providing them with a tool to handle tough situations in the future,” she said.