Achorn Speaking 18

Photo: Achorn Prize Speaking Contest winner Levi McAtee delivering his speech during Lincoln Academy Friday Community Meeting.

The annual Achorn Prize Speaking contest took place on Friday, April 27 during Lincoln Academy’s weekly community meeting. A long tradition at Lincoln Academy, the contest was established by Edward Achorn in memory of his mother, Mary Rundlett Achorn. On Friday morning, four students delivered original oratories judged on language and delivery, organization, and content.

The contest featured a range of speeches about politics, human rights, and contemporary culture. The contest opened with senior Phoebe Pugh’s timely speech on the topic of perfectionism. Describing her own case of perfectionism, Phoebe examined the origins of what she characterized as a cultural epidemic and provided several practical solutions to help mitigate the most insidious effects.

Senior Will Monti, the second speaker, focused on popular misconceptions of fascism. Arguing that the term ‘fascist’ has become little more than a generic mark of disapproval, Will urged his audience to apply the term with more precision and care in order to better assess the dangers that genuine fascism presents.

Junior Paige Camp then delivered a moving speech about the devastating consequences of a “global gag order” that prohibits US federal funding for organizations that promote women’s reproductive rights abroad.

Senior Levi McAtee concluded the contest with a prize-winning address about the pitfalls of political partisanship, the erosion of civil discourse, and the value of listening to unfamiliar perspectives that force us to examine our strongest convictions.

Judges for this year’s contest were Patti Sims (English Teacher), Bryan Manahan (English Teacher) and Kelley Duffy (Social Studies Teacher). After arriving at their decision, the judges described a remarkably close contest in a highly competitive field. In the end, Levi McAtee finished in first place, Paige Camp finished in second place, and Will Monti finished in third place.