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Rockets develop writing and speaking skills through competitions and experiential learning excursions

Rockets develop writing and speaking skills through competitions and experiential learning excursions

McNicholas students are showcasing their brilliant speaking and writing skills inside and outside of the classroom and are receiving city and state-wide accolades and attention!

Senior Autumn Strebel was recognized by the Maryknoll Society for her essay about her experience co-founding the McNicholas chapter of St. Vincent de Paul Youth Conference and the doors it has opened for Rockets to become compassionate leaders in their communities. Inspired by the book “Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future” by Pope Francis, Autumn shared the dream she had for creating something new that helped their community.

Sophomore Lynn Sandmann and senior Carly Weidenbacher performed in the Cincinnati finals of the Rotary Club speech contest after they rose to the top in McNicholas competition.  Lynn was named the Cincinnati champion for her speech which discusses the negative impact of diet culture; she moved on to compete in the Southwest Ohio Division regional speech finals at Wright State University. Carly, whose speech focused on suicide prevention through the Hope Squad program, placed third.

“Thanks to Mrs. Angie Noble, English Department Chair, for accepting the invitation from the Rotary Club for McNicholas to be in the elite company of participating schools. The speeches by Carly and Lynn were rooted in our mission: faith formation, academic excellence, and compassionate leadership. The quality of their content and presentation was outstanding,” Principal David Mueller said.

After her first-place win, Lynn was featured on WCPO 9’s Cincy Lifestyles television program. She was interviewed by Cincy Lifestyles personality, Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw, who also served as a judge for the competition. Watch the interview here.

Read more about Lynn’s winning speech.

In addition to participation in speaking and writing competitions, students apply their learning outside of the English classroom with experiential learning excursions. Members of the sophomore Rocket Learning Community visited local bookstore owner and published author Jeremy Spencer at the Tome Bookstore in Mt. Washington. They participated in a writing workshop with Spencer and published poet Amba Elieff, learned about self-publishing, and were inspired by Spencer’s story of turning his dream into a small business.

Meanwhile, our St. Joseph Scholars met with Karen Gaunt, parent of senior Gwynneth and junior Grace, who spoke about her experiences as a History and English major at Dennison University and her legal education at UC Law.  Karen, a partner at Dinsmore specializing in intellectual property law, told several stories encouraging students to use their voices to advocate for themselves. 

This winter, all McNicholas students participated in the Poetry Out Loud competition, a national arts education program that sponsors a dynamic recitation competition for high schools across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills and build self-confidence while learning more about classic and contemporary poetry.

After winning the school-wide competition, junior Amanda Braig advanced to regional semi-finals, then competed in the State finals. She placed third in the State for her recitation of “Monstrance Man” by Ricardo Pau-Llosa, “Fairy Tale with Laryngitis and Resignation Letter” by Jehanne Dubrow, and “Brother, I’ve seen some” by Kabir.

Read more about Amanda’s state appearance.

“Our students have excelled in developing their abilities to use strong voices for good causes,” Mr. Mueller said, “and we are so proud of them.”

Our students have excelled in developing their abilities to use strong voices for good causes and we are so proud of them. David Mueller, Principal

Senior Autumn Strebel volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul with fellow Rockets.

Sophomore Lynn Sandmann performing in the finals of the Rotary Club speech contest.

Members of the sophomore RLC (Rocket Learning Community) visited local bookstore owner and published author Jeremy Spencer at the Tome Bookstore in Mt. Washington.

Junior Amanda Braig competes in the State finals of Poetry Out Loud competition.

    13 students commit to pursuing degrees in art

    Congratulations to the following students who participated in our art signing day on Thursday, April 11 to celebrate their intent to continue their academic and artistic careers. We can't wait to see what you will achieve!