Throughout the spring semester, sophomores have been working on their Sophomore Advocacy Project essays and speeches, which are focused around controversial problems, and students can choose their own topic.
Previously known as the Sophomore Speech, English teacher Shannon Ward was one of the teachers that converted the speech to the Sophomore Advocacy Project.
The focus transitioned from, “What is your stance on a controversial topic of your choice?” to “What is a social issue you want to bring awareness about, and what is a solution you propose for change?”
Melissa Muñoz-Matheny, English and AVID teacher, was one of the judges at the semi-final round. Looking at the student’s ability to engage the audience, Muñoz-Matheny also measured how well they persuaded her .
“I enjoy being a judge, because I have the opportunity to support students out of my own classroom, see how students are improving as sophomores, plus I’m a fan of healthy competition,” Muñoz-Matheny said.
Sophomores Taylor Boothe, Athena Yap and Pricila Flores advanced to the final round, where they presented their speech to the whole sophomore class. In the end, Flores won first place.
Last year’s Sophomore Speech winner Joseph Roche, was a judge of the final round’s speeches. One of the Sophomore Speech traditions is having the previous year’s winner come back to judge the next year.
Flores argued for the establishment of a class at San Marin that would educate students on sexual health and abuse. Flores explained how the speeches taught her how to talk in front of crowds and use her words to spread awareness and make a positive change.
“I chose this topic because, as a girl, it’s something I need to be mindful of,” Flores said. “By doing this, I could educate my peers on rape and sexual abuse.”
Second place winner Yap argued for keeping abortions legal, while Boothe’s topic promoted equal pay for women.