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PPS Middle School Speech finals engage students in battle of wits

Middle school competitors delivered speeches they've worked on all year at the PPS Middle...
Middle school competitors delivered speeches they've worked on all year at the PPS Middle School Speech Competition Final.(25 News/Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: May. 14, 2022 at 11:17 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News) - Middle school students at Peoria Public Schools faced their fears and spoke from the heart Saturday during the student speech competition finals.

Around 100 students have practiced all year to get to the Championship Speech Competition at Manual High School, with fourth and fifth graders competing in this particular event. Groups were divided into six divisions, with half doing traditional speech and the other half a style similar to storytelling, involving acting and additional movement. Topics like colorism and race were in focus, subject matter that the students have become more aware of

Organizers want this to be more than just a competition, but a way to give students the confidence to speak their minds.

“A lot of it is things that everyday people like,” says middle school speech program coordinator Haleemah Ma’Allah. “Are you interesting to watch? Are you talking about something that’s important and meaningful? And can we see a sense of personality in your speech?”

Six winners were chosen, with them each getting a wrestling-style belt.

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