More than 1,000 Glendale High School students wearing matching outfits filed into the school's auditorium in complete silence on Thursday to hold the school's annual oratorical competition, the longest-running tradition at Glendale High.
The event is about showing school spirit and preserving a tradition, said teachers, students and alumni there to watch the event. â€œIt's something that's so unusual because it's so old and it's such a long tradition,â€ said Miya Joo, 16.
It was the 99th year the school has put on the oratorical contest, in which the school's four grades compete against one another in four categories known as speech, tableau, spirit and discipline. Throughout the presentations, students sit in the auditorium in groups according to their grade and are rated by judges on how quietly and properly they comport themselves.
These marks comprise the discipline score. Each grade designates a speaker to deliver a speech on a given topic. This year, the speeches were about the advantages and disadvantages of technology in the contemporary world. The sophomore class won this year's speech contest with Christine Garibian's delivery of a speech titled â€œThe Cure or the Cancer?â€
Technology can have bad consequences, Christine explained in her speech, such as creating sedentary lifestyles and inhibiting valuable forms of face-to-face communication, but technology should not be shunned as a result.
â€œWe must not combat technology, but rather, we should combat its negative effects,â€ Christine said. It was a coup for the sophomore class to be recognized for their speech, said sophomore Kim Valencia, 15.
â€œIt's not very likely for underclassmen to win speech,â€ Kim said. After each speech, a team of about 12 students from each grade created a tableau, or visual representation, of the speech's central theme on stage, using their bodies and props.
The junior class won the tableau contest this year for a scene that depicted a war zone, with students dressed as soldiers, as a commentary on the effects of violent video games. The juniors were given the highest marks for discipline as well. The senior class was named the best in the spirit category, which involved cheering Glendale High cheers with accuracy and unity.
Senior Daniel Park, 17, was happy with his class' performance, he said, because he considers the spirit category to be the most important. The winning classes receive plaques, but the real prize is bragging rights and the pride the students feel from creating something as a class, said Shawna Metcalf, a Glendale High teacher who helped organize this year's competition.
Metcalf participated in oratorical when she was a Glendale High student, and said it was touching to see how many students are still excited about the experience. â€œIt is amazing to see one-third of our students, including those who have struggled with discipline, pull it together and be part of keeping such a valued tradition alive,â€ she said.