Kendell Pewitt, and several other Alto Park Elementary School students referenced that Dr. Seuss quote in their speeches during the school’s annual speaking contest last week.
Before scores of their fellow students and a bushel of proud parents, 13 students spoke on whether or not one person can make a difference in the world, and how. On Friday, the students and faculty gathered in the gymnasium to hear the winning speeches and judges declared a winner for the two divisions.
Division I was comprised of three second-graders and three third-graders and Division II was comprised of four fourth-graders and three fifth-graders.
Lauren McGhee, a third grade student won for Division I and Kendell, a fifth grade student won for Division II.
Lauren spoke with profound feeling and said that anyone could make a difference if they believed they could.
“How do you spell American?” she asked her audience. “A-m-e-r- I can… I can make a difference. We are Americans and we can do anything.”
Kendell, a fourth grader, said in her speech that though she and her friends are small, they can make a huge difference in the world.
She urged her peers to do smaller things such as cleaning their rooms, and encourage each other and be kind to one another.
“Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something,” Kendell said.
The students first competed against all the students in their individual homeroom classes and won. The other students who competed in Division I were second-graders Haley Hope, Caleb Smith and Audrey Williamson and third-graders Hannah Fargo and Cearra Parker.
Other competing students in Division II were fourth-graders Angelica Alvarenga, Samantha Arellano and Dixie Swann and fifth-graders were Ansley Cowan, Jordan Roberts and Jazmine Sandoval.
Aaron Anderson, principal at Alto Park said the speech topic was deliberately chosen so that students could not only practice and develop better speaking skills, but so they could also analyze the questions and relate them to their own lives.
Each participating student earned a certificate and gold medal before the winners were announced.
Kendell was overjoyed at her win and was taking photos with her family members following the competition.
“I’m happy, I’m really glad I got picked,” she said. “I want to thank everyone, my teachers and my family.”
When Lauren’s name was called, she jumped up with such excitement, her audience chuckled between applause and cheers.
Lauren said she had been practicing her speech for three days.
“I feel really good,” she said, her cheeks flushed.
When asked why she thought she won, the third-grader said, “Because I didn’t look at my paper!”