Students compete in Peoria's patriotic speech contest
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Students compete in Peoria’s patriotic speech contest

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  • Erin Dunsey/Peoria Unified School District

Guests from across the West Valley will judge students from the Peoria Unified School District as they compete in the 27th Annual Patriotic Speech Contest at the District Administration Center on Thursday, Feb. 27.

The contest begins at 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. for seventh and eighth-grade students at the center at 6330 W. Thunderbird Road in Glendale. Fifth and sixth-grade students will compete at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

The judging panel consists of: Master Sergeant Joseph Rivera as well as eight other members from the United States Air Force; Glendale Community College professors Dr. Jim Reed and Rosie Mays; Peoria Unified Governing Board members Hal Borhauer, Matthew Bullock and Kathy Knecht; Sunrise Mountain High School senior and Peoria City Council Liaison Jake Jelinek as well as district administrators and retirees.

For the contest, fifth- and sixth-graders conceptualize, write and deliver a two-to-three minute persuasive speech on one of several topics that are patriotic in nature based on a prompt or quote. Seventh- and eighth-graders prepare a three-to-five minute persuasive speech on patriotism, also utilizing and interpreting famous quotes as the inspiration and foundation of their speech. Prior to winning a spot at the district competition, these 60 students competed in their local schools’ speech contests.

Parents and community members can watch and listen to all of the contestants in this year’s Patriotic Speech Contest during its premiere on Saturday, March 7th at 7 p.m. on Cox Cable Channel 99. The block of programs will run through the rest of March on Cox Cable Channel 99 at the following times: Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 10 a.m., Sundays at 3 p.m. and Tuesdays at 6 p.m. Speeches will also be available beginning March 7th on the district’s YouTube channel.

The Peoria Unified School District, located in the West Valley, serves more than 36,000 students in 32 elementary schools, seven high schools and one non-traditional high school. With ongoing open enrollment and alternative educational opportunities, the district boasts a 94 percent high school graduation rate.

Peoria Unified is one of the largest unified school districts in Arizona and prides itself on excelling schools, award-winning teachers, high AIMS test scores, specialized signature programs and championship sports programs. For more information, visit the District’s website,