Everyone has heard the statistic that more people fear public speaking than actual death. That may be hard to imagine but according to one statistic (psycom.net), 75% of the population has this fear, known as glossophobia.
Being able to speak clearly and confidently is a vital part of life. According to the article The 11 Solid Reasons Why Public Speaking is Important in Your Life, public speaking raises your level of self-confidence, it makes you more comfortable around other people, it allows you to share your knowledge and gain knowledge at the same time. In other words, to fear public speaking is to hold yourself back in your career and in life. The ability to speak in public opens doors and literally gives you a voice in the conversation.
At Elgin Academy, our students begin speaking in front of their peers early and often. Starting in Kindergarten, students present their "All About Me" projects and it continues in each grade from there. In Middle School students in fifth and sixth grade participate in Biographer's Tea giving a 3-5 minute presentation (in costume) and, in Upper School, students give multiple presentations in class as well as participate in extra-curricular activities such as Model UN and Latin Club that require giving speeches and reciting passages in front of peers. Those who choose to participate in the senior independent study program known as the Hilltop must present their year-long research projects to peers, faculty, friends, and family.
These years of public speaking experience culminate in Senior Speeches. Beginning after Winter Break, all seniors must prepare and give a 3-5 minute speech in front of the entire Upper School. They choose their topic. It can be funny or sad, profound, steeped in meaning and full of quotes, or just a simple story told from the heart. Regardless of the topic, by the time they reach 12th grade, each senior is well prepared to present this most personal of speeches to their peers.
Having years of practice and many opportunities to be critiqued, Elgin Academy students graduate with confidence in their ability to speak in public and with a valuable skill that many employers would like to have in their employees. This is just one way that Elgin Academy helps students to be our creative, courageous and compassionate future.