Speech Contestants Take a Bow, Promote the Arts

Congratulations to all of the participants in the 2016 District Speech Contest, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Chula Vista. Each participant demonstrated that they have acquired the gift of public speaking. This ability will serve them well as they go on to high school, college and career. The students’ ideas for making a positive difference in the world via the arts and physical education give us confidence that the future is in good hands.

Kudos to Owen McCann of Halecrest Elementary, the Grade 4 champion; Madeline Tulagan of Olympic View, the Grade 5 champion; Micaela Luffborough of Wolf Canyon, the Grade 6 champion; and Josiah Feliciano of Mueller Charter, the Middle Grades champion. Micaela is a testament to perseverance. She was a runner-up in each of the last two years as a fourth and fifth grade student. She had noted to her parents prior to the competition that this was going to be her year, though they worried after seeing her so despondent after the previous close finishes.

“Winning this year’s competition was special to me because I did not give up. This was my third time at the finals and I believed in myself more than ever,” Micaela said.

This year’s question prompt was, “CVESD has allocated millions of dollars to increase access to art, music, dance, and physical education for students. What benefits or challenges have you experienced from these programs? If you could select additional opportunities for your school, what would you choose? Why?”

The theme stems from the District’s decision in June to set aside $5 million to employ additional teachers starting in the 2015-16 school year with a focus on Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) and physical education. In turn, this has provided classroom teachers with release time for collaboration. The funding for collaboration while also boosting arts instruction District-wide has been hailed by arts organizations as a model for other school districts. The arts push is part of the District’s Local Control and Accountability Plan.

The speech finals were held on February 29 at the District’s Education Service and Support Center.

Asked what she hoped would most resonate with the public about her speech, Micaela said: “Art, music, dance, and physical education are powerful mediums that give students like me a way to express ourselves, unlock our creativity, and expand our imagination.”

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