The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Fay Magazine: Summer 2018

In Their Own Words

We're delighted to present excerpts from the talented finalists in this year’s Upper School Speech Contest. Their speeches were inspired by our schoolwide theme, Gaining Perspective
One of Fay’s longest-standing and best-loved traditions, the Upper School Speech Contest is the culmination of Fay’s public speaking program. During the winter term, every student in the Upper School prepares a speech, and one representative from each English class is selected to move on to the semi-final round; from this group, the English faculty selects a small group of finalists. By turns funny, fiery, inspiring, and heartbreaking, the speech finals showcase a breathtaking range of experiences and viewpoints, and the resounding applause at the end of each speech reflects the students’ admiration for their peers’ achievements.
Stephen M. ’18, “In Defense of Naïveté,” Speech Contest Winner
“I am, at heart, a fiery idealist. Yes, I said it. The “I” word. I am an idealist; it sounds at this point almost like a slur, rolling off the tongue of a slick spin doctor. The word has taken on a highly negative connotation: an idealist, we are told, is some blind fool who searches for a non-existent pie in the sky, then yells at anyone who seeks to enlighten him with the light of logic and reason. There is, however, a quixotic side to everyone, and to find it, we need only look into the bright eyes of young children.”
Jeffry K. ’20, “Stammer,” Honorable Recognition
“I have started to realize that everything happens for a reason...I am standing here telling you all about this stammer because this problem has changed me for the better. It has made me unique and more grateful. I have seen other people with more severe problems, and I noticed how minor my deficiency is in comparison. Without this stammer, I would never have felt empathy for them.”
Orville A. ’19, “Soundtrack To My Life”
“As the poet Santi Thom beautifully said, “Your heart is just a beatbox for the song of your life.” This was a quote that seemed prime for this type of speech, which is not your typical oration. I’ve recently been asked which song would portray my life, and that question piqued my interest while bringing up a follow-up question: which part?”
Tatiana B. ’19, “About Communication”
“Communication has the power to change everything: to break apart or bring together, cripple or heal, empathize or ignore. Words have the power to change everything: to enrage or comfort, build or destroy, bring peace or havoc. The greatest of wars were started with words, led on with words, and ended with words. By means of evolution we have been given this power, this beautiful weapon of expression and voice.”
Aaron C. ’19, “My Perspective on Speaking Two Languages” Honorable Recognition
“I am constantly required to think in both Korean and English, especially while being a student at Fay. I must think not only in different languages, but also from two perspectives —the typical Korean teenager perspective and the so-called traditional New England prep school student. Although this pattern has helped me improve my English and maintain my Korean skills, I am often frustrated by the inner conflicts between the two voices.”
Nina R. ’ 18, “Connection” Honorable Recognition
“My experience with Sarah opened my eyes to the issues in my own city and put a face to the BBC reports I had seen about the Syrian refugee crisis. I had seen days worth of these reports describing the tragedy, but I felt no connection, and most importantly I didn't see a place where I could make a difference. I was a kid; what could I really do? Through the experience, I learned that this is the worst mindset. Although it might seem small, you can always do something.”
Andrew S. ’18, “Aimless Direction”
“It’s important to understand that having an interest and arbitrarily saying ‘yeah, this is my passion’ is empty and hollow. It's important to find something that gets your wheels turning, your heart pumping, and keeps your mind occupied. The important thing is to put yourself out there: try new things, take risks, and expose yourself to different environments. It’s on you to make something out of your opportunities.”
Emma S. ’18, “Containing Creativity” Honorable Recognition
“Our creativity is a living, breathing thing that lies within us. When we are younger, it breathes fire into everyday scenes, creating worlds of mischievous fairies, grumpy trolls, and evil pirates. Children use their creativity to develop early cognitive and emotional strength, so why is it being taken away from them by rigorous schooling systems and iPad games? Creative children who are allowed to flourish grow into innovative, motivated adults who have the self-confidence to take risks and dive into new subject areas. But what happens if this development is cut short?”
Natalie Z. ’19, “Hold On”
“Our generation is so focused on minimalism and streamlining. Marie Kondo has sold millions of books telling people that if it doesn’t give you joy, throw it out. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that some of their clutter contains important memories. Years ago, people kept their memories in letters, Polaroids, and on VHS tapes. So how will we remember our journey through middle school, the most awkward years of our lives?”
Cathy Z. ’20, “Our Moral Obligation”
“I grew up in Beijing, in a fast-paced, modern world. As the apple of my family’s eye, everything I experienced was perfect, until one day, curiosity urged me to ask my mom, “Are all children doing the same thing as me each day?” I did not receive the answer until the day I saw a girl my own age drawing with her feet on the side of the road because she did not have arms and needed a means to survive. This was the first time I understood disparity.”

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