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The winner of the 2018 Oratorical Contest, Alex P.


Most people dislike public speaking. According to information posted on Wikipedia, it’s been estimated that 75% of all people experience some degree of anxiety when it comes to public speaking, and most people fear public speaking more than they fear death.
However, the good news is that public speaking is an important social skill that can be acquired through practice at an early age. The more opportunities a student has to develop this skill, the more comfortable and proficient they will be later on in life. To help facilitate this process, IHMS offers students in the upper grades two different public speaking opportunities:  
 …… 1. Debate Club, which is an optional extra-curricular activity open to grade 6- 8 students only. Students in the Debate Club have the opportunity to enter several different tournaments throughout the year. For the 2017 – 2018 school year, it was organized and run by the school’s grade 8 teacher, Mr. Burg.
2. The Oratorical Contest, which is a mandatory assignment for all grade 6-8 students. Each student is required to deliver a 2-3 minute speech to their classmates on a preselected topic. The Oratorical Contest is an annual event typically scheduled around the middle of May.


Students gathered in the gym at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 17 for the 2018 Oratorical Contest


All grade 6-8 students are required to participate in the Oratorical Contest. Each speech is evaluated by the classroom teacher and used as a part of the student’s ELA mark. The preselected topics for each grade were as follows:

  • Grade 6: My Interests / Activities
  • Grade 7: The Advantages of Attending a Private School
  • Grade 8: What I Plan To Do In The Future
….. group


The nine contestants arranged in their speaking order


After each student delivered their speech to the rest of the class, they were given a mark by their teacher, and the six best speakers were selected as semi-finalists. These semi-finalists recited their speeches for a second time to a pair of judges, and the six are reduced down to 3 finalists. These finalists become contestants in the Oratorical Contest for their grade.
As strange as it may sound, the Oratorical Contest is sponsored by an organization that no longer exists! In fact, the Oratorical Contest is sponsored by an organization that hasn’t existed for decades – the Fidelity Social Club (or, as most people called it, the “Fidelity Club”). 
A card advertising the school’s first fund-raising Bingo night


The Fidelity Social Club

The Fidelity Club was created on March 28, 1963, and continued to operate until the late 1980’s. It was the most important and longest running fund raising organization of the time, and raised money for the school by organizing weekly bingo games. In fact, up until the early 1980’s, these games were held in the school’s gymnasium.



Even though the Fidelity Club was dismantled many years ago, some of the money raised from bingo games played decades ago still exist in its accounts. For the last 25 years, there’s been enough money to provide cash prizes for the top three winners of the Oratorical Contest. The prizes are:

  • 1st place:  $100 scholarship and a trophy
  • 2nd place:  $ 75 scholarship
  • 3rd place:  $ 50 scholarship


This year, the 24th annual Oratorical Contest was held on Thursday, May 17 in the school gym. The finalists for each grade were:

Grade 6 Finalists

Julian B. Kushleen D. Nazar H.

Grade 7 Finalists

Jasmine D. Jeremy D. Nicholas W.

Grade 8 Finalists

Jade D. Donovan M. Alex P.


These nine finalists were selected the previous week in order to give them enough time to memorize and perfect their speeches. They practised in front of each other and were given constructive advice and feedback by the supervising teachers. This helped to improve the overall quality of their speeches.


The judges for this year’s Oratorical Contest were:




  • Mr. I. Fil, the school’s custodian*
  • Mr. P. Trochanowski, the school’s vice-principal
  • Ms. D. Bacon, IHMS’s educational assistant
* This is Mr. Fil’s 17th consecutive year as a judge



The judges for this year’s Oratorical Contest, as shown in the top four photos, were Mr. Fil, Ms. Bacon, and Mr. Trochanowski. These were the same three judges from last year’s contest.
The bottom two photos show Mr. Fil, the school’s former custodian, speaking to the nine finalists at the end of the contest (the finalists are just out of camera range). Mr. Fil, who is currently on medical leave, returned to the school to judge the Oratorical Contest for the 17th consecutive year!


Each of the nine contestants presented their speech in the school gym in front of the grade 5-8 students, their teachers, and the three judges. Mr. Picklyk was the MC for the event.


Mr. Picklyk, the school’s principal, was the MC for the event. He wore an embroidered Ukrainian shirt during the Oratorical Contest because May 17 was also Vyshyvanka Day.


The Oratorical Contest began around 9:00 a.m., and within 45 minutes all nine contestants had presented their speeches. The students were dismissed back to their classrooms to allow the judges time to make the difficult decision of selecting the top three contestants. It took the judges over half an hour to make this decision! Everyone reconvened in the gym at 10:30 a.m. to hear the final results as announced by Mr. Picklyk.


Two grade 8 boys (Alex P. and Donovan M.) and a grade 6 girl (Khushleen D.) presenting what turned out to be the top 3 speeches of the Oratorical Contest.



Before the winners were announced, Mr. Trochanowski spoke briefly about the evaluation procedure, and then presented the first, second, and third place certificates to the respective winners.


2018 Oratorical Contest standings:

1st place

1st place – Alex Paches

2nd place

2nd place –  Donovan Martin

3rd place

3rd place – Khushleen Dhaliwal


Congratulations to all nine contestants for a job well done.


 The nine contestants posing with their certificates. Click here to enlarge



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