The Merced County Office of Education announced the winners of the Merced County Speech Festival at an awards ceremony Wednesday.
A total of 165 students, from fourth through the eighth grade, from 22 different schools in Merced County, participated in the competition. The elementary school speech competition was held Jan. 20 and the middle school speeches were given Jan. 22. Both competitions were held at the County Office of Education in Merced.
Awards for the top three students in each grade level and honorable mentions were presented Wednesday at the Clark and Newbold Rooms at the county Office of Education.
Students chose speech topics from categories approved during the recent Writing Festival.
“Students stood in front of the audience and a panel of three judges; some memorized their speeches, some used props and others had vivid gesturing and staging,” education officials said in a news release.
First-place winners were invited to give their award-winning speeches at the awards reception Wednesday.
2016 Merced County Speech Festival Winners
Eighth Grade: First Place: Jacqueline Bangle, Los Banos Jr. High; Second Place: Holly Ballez, Los Banos Jr. High, & Third Place: Katherine Horal, Our Lady of Mercy
Seventh Grade: First Place: David Vidauri, Our Lady of Mercy; Second Place: Caitlyn Ballenger, Ballico, & Third Place: Daisy Samuelson, Our Lady of Mercy
Sixth Grade: First Place: Liliana Boesch, Ballico; Second Place: Gabrielle Jasso, Our Lady of Mercy, & Third Place: Harmony Tinley, Hilmar Middle School
Fifth Grade: Hanna Moradzadeh, Our Lady of Mercy; Second Place: Christian Macalincag, Our Lady of Mercy, & Third Place: Dakotah Timpson, Peggy Heller
Fourth Grade: First Place: Jessica Ma, Burbank, Second Place: Mariah Washington, Westside Union, & Third Place: Gus Dietz, McSwain