District News

Who is Your Person of the Year?

In March, grade 8 students participated in the HCC Person of the Year project, choosing and researching someone who inspired them. They practiced their persuasive writing and public speaking skills to convince an audience that their person was the most worthy of this honor.

“Students had the option of doing a live speech or a pre-recorded video,” said Mrs. Melinda Fuller, grade 8 teacher. “Some students, who initially did not want to present in person, changed their minds as they saw their peers taking risks by delivering live speeches. The build of confidence was great to see.”

As a result of the pandemic, this year provided students with more diversity in their selection of new heroes and role models. Students watched sample speeches for motivation and researched articles, videos, and other sources to gain information about their person. There were three presentation opportunities after students completed their research, note-taking, and speech writing. Students were evaluated on the depth and accuracy of their research and how compelling they were in communicating their point of view.

“I liked this project because it gave us a solid platform to show who we looked up to and why they were important,” said student Ashley Stangel. “We got to shine a spotlight on our person and share information with our peers.” Ashley chose Kamala Harris, who she admires greatly. She expressed her excitement throughout the presentations and gained confidence while cultivating her communication skills.

Delivering her speech was the most valuable skill that student Ella Saltstein attained from this project. She worked on her pace, eye contact, and general comfort in front of a group before her official presentations. “I chose Mae Jemison, the first woman of color in space,” said Ella. “I was inspired by her drive, her medical background, and of course her space travel.”

John Cavada chose Dr. Anthony Fauci after listening to his press conferences during the pandemic about the nation’s medical state. “My favorite part of this project was presenting my speech,” John said. “Not only did I gain an understanding of medicine and the impact of Dr. Fauci, but also how to be a leader and make a difference.” John hopes to become a scientist someday and plans to model the virtues of Dr. Fauci.

“It was hard to choose one person because so many people were making an impact this year, so I chose all frontline workers instead of one individual,” said student Addison Freeman. “They are making such an impact this year even though they get such little recognition.” Addie was so pleased that others agreed with her choice that frontline workers were worthy of this honor. “I loved presenting my speech and moving to the next level. I felt so proud,” said Addie.

The grade 8 team of teachers could not have been happier with the outcome of this project. “The students’ hard work, persistence, collaboration, and rigor all reflected their thirst for knowledge,” said teacher Ms. Jeanine Cappello. “The people they selected and their enthusiasm for the project was nothing short of astounding.”

Students were steadfast in their decisions about the Person of the Year and were convincing in their arguments. They also gained valuable insight into other significant people by listening to and assessing their classmates’ projects. The benefits from this experience are immeasurable and will be utilized throughout these students’ academic and professional futures.

HCC Person of the Year