Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Seniors Present Chapel Talks

This month, Academy seniors deliver abbreviated presentations of their senior research projects during Chapel Talks.

In her book, Less Time for Meddling, A History of Salem Academy & College 1772-1866, Frances Griffin writes, “Early in his term as inspector, Abraham Steiner instituted an annual ‘Examination,’ at which each girl, in the presence of an audience, was placed on her mettle to show what she had learned in the classroom.” So, during the summer of 1808, the first public “Examination” was held at Salem Academy, and for more than 200 years there has been an expectation that every graduate would be required to make a scholarly presentation in a public forum. Today we call those presentations “Chapel Talks.”

The talks originate from a research paper (limited to 10 pages) that each senior is asked to submit during the fall semester. The students are allowed to choose their own topic, and it can be virtually anything that interests them. At the beginning of second semester, they shrink their 10-page paper into a one-page, three-minute “talk,” which they deliver before the entire community. They are graded on projection, pacing, professionalism, eye contact, emphasis and the content of their “script.”

This experience is a “rite of passage” for all Academy graduates. Dr. Eileen Cahill, the Academy’s Director of Studies and AP English teacher, describes it in the following way, “Despite the nervousness that accompanies speaking before a group, the girls do enjoy the experience, marvel at their ability to convey a confidence they don’t always feel, and appreciate the chance to share a subject they are passionate about (and that they have worked hard to research) with an audience.”

Some of this year’s presentations include:

Keyla Kolenovic
Developing the Developing

Laura Zhang
The Universe inside a Cup: The Tea Ceremony and Its Cultural Background

Hayley Premo
Culturally Unique Perceptions of Death

Jade Li
From Athens to London: The Olympics and Its Roles

Ivy Webb
The Changing Face of Tattoos

Sierra Collins
The Vicious Training of Olympic Athletes

Bennett Holland
The Woes of Women in World War II

Gracie Holbrook
The Effects of the Ugandan Civil War on the people of Central Africa

Savannah Livengood
The Vegan Diet’s Power to End the World Food Crisis

Rachel Williams
The Effects of Invasive Species on Our Environment

Savannah Livengood
The Vegan Diet’s Power to End the World Food Crisis

Stephanie Puckett
The Expanded Voice of the Average Citizen

Dani Hill
Spousal Relationships: The Middle East and America

Kelly Kim
Water: Easily Accessible, Yet Should Not Be Taken for Granted

Claire Lineberger
The Physical Effects of the Holocaust on Its Victims

Elle Cook
Cell Phones Reduce Face-to-Face Interactions

Kiersten Washle
Constitution of a Hero

Annie Baek
The Smartphone vs. TV Alliances

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