Inspired by their study of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, juniors in English class prepared and delivered extemporaneous speeches on contemporary issues they are passionate about.

Set in France during World War II, the novel exemplifies the triumph of the human spirit despite overwhelming hardship, featuring a main character who demonstrates the difference one individual can make by taking a stand against injustice.

Students selected and researched issues close to their hearts, from animal extinction to the plight of Uighur Muslims in China, and presented to classmates and English teacher Eileen Kicmal.

Extemporaneous speaking is presenting material in a natural, speaking manner with notecards. Students were not allowed to read their speeches word for word or from a manuscript. Instead, they prepared an outline of the main points and used various visual aids to implement a more interesting and captivating presentation on an important issue.

“This extemporaneous speaking assignment allowed students to be more aware of public speaking skills,” Dr. Kicmal said.

“In addition to researching information and evaluating the credibility of sources, students learned to be more aware of the importance of delivery skills such as eye contact, gestures, platform movement, vocalized pauses, and their stance.”