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Independent School students to compete in national oratory competition

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at 9:54 a.m.


Two Wichita middle school students will deliver speeches at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., next month as part of a national oratory competition.

William Rowley and Reid McConnaughey, both eighth-graders at The Independent School, will represent Kansas in the Ford’s Theatre National Oratory Fellows program. Independent is the only school in Kansas to participate in the program, which supports teaching historically important speeches and original oration in the classroom.

Dave McIntire, a middle school history teacher at Independent, was named a Ford’s Theatre fellow last year, one of only 14 nationwide. He has worked with students this school year to prepare them for the competition, analyzing the Declaration of Independence, Shakespearean sonnets and other works and holding master classes with Ford’s Theatre teaching artists.

“This has been an amazing opportunity for the school and my students,” McIntire said. “I can honestly say this experience has changed the way I teach.”

Rowley and McConnaughey were judged the winners of a school oratory competition in February and will travel to Washington the first week of May. McConnaughey will perform Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech; Rowley will deliver former President Ronald Reagan’s “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall” speech.

For more information about the Ford’s Theatre Oratory Fellows program, visit www.fords.org/oratory.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @suzannetobias.

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