Arts and Academics Students use their voices to activate change


Samantha White

As the Speak Up event came to a finish the performers prepare to bow. (From left) Alissa Gary, Kamryn Bailey, Becca Finberg, Sophia Roberts, Olivia Arnold, Alisson Robert, Sofia Manocchio, Kaja Andric, Annabella Saccaro all performed in the World Speech Day celebration.

On Feb. 14, 2018, 17 students lost their lives at the hands of a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. As a result the Bak speech and debate team used their voices to make change through the Speak up event on World Speech Day.

Annabella Saccaro, eighth grade communications major, said, “There were student made speeches, student made videos and guest speakers such as Tiffany Kenney and Rick Blackwell. We all spoke on behalf of the voices who could not, encouraging kids to make a difference in the community.”

The event took place on March 15, 2018 which was World Speech Day a national day that encourages people to use their voices to make change.

“We started this idea in October to showcase the communications department by participating in World Speech Day,” Saccaro said. “However, after the tragic Parkland event we turned it around in a month to prevent this from happening again.”

The eighth graders on the speech and debate team along with Alyssa Vaknin, communications teacher, helped organize the event to encourage people to make a difference.

“I think this event will open the eyes of teachers and students to help them realize what is happening and inspire them to make a change as well,” Yasmin Ali, eighth grade communications major, said. “I think that speaking up is important, and I felt like this event was a great way of showing that.”

The students put this event together in a month and Willow Hackett, eighth grade communications major, said “this was a huge accomplishment.” Many of the performers found the ending to be the most rewarding part of the show.

“My favorite part of the event was the ending. We all got up there and shared our voices and ended by bowing,” Hackett said. “We were very emotional and crying because it was such a moving event to be in and it all happened so fast.”