FUHSD ELD speech contest


Graphic by Raagni Krishna Devaki

After four years, on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, FUHSD hosted its English Learner Speech Contest. With hundreds of people present and English Language Development students from all FUHSD high schools participating, this event is one of the largest district-wide gatherings of the year. 

This would have marked the contest’s 16th consecutive year; unfortunately, it was paused for three years due to the pandemic. However, once the opportunity to resume these contests arose, Welton Kwong, coordinator of the ELD contest, began the arrangements.

“This event involves all five schools, meaning we need to get the other schools to get to Fremont, meaning getting them over here with buses and that involves coordinating with teachers and scheduling […] along with logistics of setting up judges and getting food,” Kwong said.

During the competition, participants perform a three to five minute memorized speech to display their English skills; they are given the opportunity to write speeches about any topic, ranging from their hobbies and interests to personal life experiences. 

“I’m going to talk about my hometown Yucatan because it is not a popular city,” FHS freshman Mei Conteras Medez, who is in ELD 1, said. “I want more people to know about this city.” 

At the beginning of the event, students were assigned to the classroom where they would be competing against three to six other students for the first round. Judges score the students based on multiple criteria. 

“The top people are moved onto the final round depending on their overall score from the first two rounds,” FHS ELD coordinator Aisha Lomando said. “They are judged on staying on topic, organization of the speech […] grammar and pronunciation […] and on posture and tone.”

After the first two rounds, dinner was served and the judges reviewed every student’s scoresheets to determine the final round contestants, which were subsequently announced. One of these finalists was FHS freshman Laura Morales Gonzalez, who spoke about her favorite soccer player: Diego Maradona.

The finalists were assigned to new classrooms with a new set of judges to promote fair scoring. These scores were finally tallied up and the winners were announced in the Shannon Theatre. Each classroom had its own top three winners along with honorable mentions. 

As a result of meticulous planning and preparation from coordinators, teachers, administrators and ELD students, the event concluded with several students winning prizes and receiving trophies.

Considering these students are new to the district with little to no English experience, this is a huge accomplishment for all participants, and celebrates their achievements.