Shelton students earn oratory honors

SHELTON — Three eighth graders and one seventh grader were recognized for their oratory skills Wednesday.

Eighth grader Quinn Wherley placed first, with fellow eighth graders Joey Cummings and Krishiv Patel second and third, respectively, in the annual American Legion Oratorical Contest at Shelton Intermediate School. Seventh grader Kailey Hill placed fourth.

“This is a great preparatory thing for when the kids get into high school,” said Milt Harrigan of the American Legion said.

“There are only a handful of middle schools that do this,” Harrigan added. “It’s great. It gives them exposure to speaking to people and teaches them something about the constitution and the way our government works.”

The top four orators received cash prizes. Judging was done by Shelton High School’s AP Government students.

In all, 19 students participated in the event, in which each delivered speeches 3 to 5 minutes in length about Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Passed in the wake of the American Civil War, the 14th Amendment was part of a series of changes to the United States Constitution, along with the 13th and 15th Amendments.

Hill was joined by Stephanie Sanborn as the only seventh grade participants. The eight graders were Wherley, Cummings, Patel, Ali Calandro, Leah Kovacs, Elias Elias, Justin Sevillano, Gabriel Flores, Soham Agarwal, Jackson Guerra, Faith Boahemaa, Michael Strazza, Sienna Giampaolo, Andrew Pavliouk, Scarlett Riccittelli, Sailor Martin, and Natalie Crofford.

Katelyn Botsford Tucker, a Shelton Intermediate teacher who organized the event, was pleased with the competition and grateful the school was able to bring it back again.

“The high school students were so encouraging, and the speakers were phenomenal,” Tucker said. “It’s really hard to prepare a speech on a topic you haven’t chosen for yourself, practice it, and then get up and deliver it in front of a group of people you don’t know.

“As far as I’m concerned, the kids won just by walking into the auditorium today. I’m so proud of them,” Tucker added.