Winner of Henderson's Girls Speaking Contest Tackles Sensitive Topic

Winner of Henderson's Girls Speaking Contest Tackles Sensitive Topic

Contestants of the 2018 Henderson High School Girls Speaking Contest The 2018 Henderson High School Janet Walton Girls Speaking Competition contestants - Lucy Krug (left,) Kendall Anderson, Shreya Verma, Kateri Lalicker, Bailey Henry, Isabelle Perez, Lillian Drake, Katie Detwiler, Abheya Nair   

The topic of sexual assault was the subject matter of the winning presentation at the annual Janet Walton Girls Public Speaking Contest at Henderson High School.

The speaking is one of the West Chester Area School District's longest standing traditions, dating back over 75 years. Nine females took to the stage in Henderson's auditorium in front of their peers on November 30 and delivered an excerpt from a published literary piece that had never been performed in public. Each literary work had to be approved ahead of time, and students had roughly six weeks to prepare for the contest. Participants were judged on their audience awareness, projection, inflection, diction, pacing, and movement.

Senior Kateri Lalicker won first place with a passage from Beartown by Fredrik Backman. The book is about a small town consumed with ice hockey that becomes immersed in a scandal when the star of boys junior ice hockey team is accused of sexual assault. Dreams, community pride, morals, and ethics are on the line when the accusations come to light.

"I was kind of unsure about the topic at first because rape is such a sensitive topic," said Lalicker. "But, I thought it could help raise more awareness of the situation."

In addition to her studies, Lalicker is involved with the speech and debate club at Henderson. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, Art Honor Society, and works at the school's literary magazine.

Lalicker plans on continuing her education after graduating from Henderson in the spring. She doesn't know which college she will attend yet but says she will major in chemical engineering. Lalicker has applied to MIT, Northeastern University, and the University of Rochester. She is also applying to Boston University, Carnegie Melon, Tufts University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh. MIT is her top choice.

Second place went to junior Katie Detwiler who performed an excerpt from A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer. 11th-grader Lucy Krug won third place with an excerpt from Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.

“It takes a tremendous amount of courage to do what these young ladies did here today. They all did an awesome job. They are all winners,” said Dr. Jason Sherlock, Henderson principal.

Henderson Latin teacher, Janet Boosz is the coordinator of the Janet Walton Girls Speaking Contest. Judges for the contest were Dr. Sara Misset, WCASD director of secondary education, David Ehrhart, interim supervisor of world language, retired Henderson English teacher Linda Banks, and retired Clearview Regional High School Latin teacher, Mrs. Martha Pearlman.

The D. Webster Meredith Boys Speaking Contest will be held in the spring.