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| Monday, Mar 18, 2019
Jean Paik stands with the certificate she received after speaking at the first Santa Clarita World Speech Day event, March 16, 2019. | Photo: Caleb Lunetta/The Signal.
Jean Paik stands with the certificate she received after speaking at the first Santa Clarita World Speech Day event, March 16, 2019. | Photo: Caleb Lunetta/The Signal.

 

In a room filled with at least 75 young speechmakers, Santa Clarita students celebrated their city’s first ever World Speech Day on Saturday.

Largely organized by Valencia sophomore Cassidy Bensko, with the help of the event’s hosts, Global Prep Academy, the Santa Clarita World Speech Day celebration worked to teach students about the importance of free speech here and around the world, according to event organizers.

“It is the first ever World Speech Day event in Santa Clarita, but it is one of many branches of this same event in over 100 countries on the same day,” said Bensko. “We’ve all gotten together to talk about whatever topic they’ve chosen to speak about, except to be respectful.”

Over the course of two hours, speakers who were both junior high school and high school age walked to the front of the room and chose to either stand behind the podium or walk in front of it while holding a microphone. The speeches given ranged from personal experiences that manifested into life lessons or oratory performances typically seen during a competitive, academic tournament.

“I am a competitive speaker and a very opinionated person,” said Bensko. “So I wanted to bring public speaking, which has played a major role in my own life, to the younger kids.”

The Santa Clarita World Speech Day event was attended by more than 75 students and parents on March 16, 2019. | Photo: Caleb Lunetta/The Signal.

The Santa Clarita World Speech Day event was attended by more than 75 students and parents on March 16, 2019. | Photo: Caleb Lunetta/The Signal.

One such speaker, Jean Paik, is a junior at Valencia High School and a competitive debater herself. However, she used her time front and center to criticize the culture surrounding the academic community she has grown to love over the years.

“My speech was about something I saw fundamentally wrong with the speech community, which is weaponizing the suffering of others for the purpose of our own self-gains to win a ballot,” said Paik. “I would just finish a speech at a debate tournament, and say, ‘I can’t believe I just said that.’ I realized there were a lot of bigger things going on in the world than a debate tournament, and I had to educate myself about that.”

Paik said during her speech that she understands the need to discuss atrocities around the world so humanity can learn from those things, but that selfish intent should never be a factor in those conversations — something she sees as a major theme running through her competitive debates.

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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019
The William S. Hart Union High School District’s governing board is set to discuss a letter addressing allegations of an open-meeting law violation with respect to its recent search for a new superintendent.
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California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress or CAASPP results show William S. Hart Union High School District students continuing to outpace their peers county- and state-wide.
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School districts throughout the state are releasing their 2019 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) scores. For the Saugus Union School District (SUSD), it was another year of steady increases in both English Language Arts and Mathematics.
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Students in the Newhall School District once again have excelled in state testing on English language arts and math, posting scores well above the state averages in both of those key categories on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP.
Friday, Oct 4, 2019
Stress was left outside the door as students, teachers, administrators and dignitaries enjoyed the grand opening of the two William S. Hart Union High School District’s sponsored Wellness Centers at Canyon and West Ranch high schools.

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