El Dorado County Students Bring the Written Word to Life!

El Dorado County Students Bring the Written Word to Life!

00:00 AM - April 29, 2019

Sierra Grant, 8th-grade Miller’s Hill (Latrobe School District) student presents an original piece to a room full of students, families and volunteers.

This spring, more than 400 fourth through eighth-grade students represented 28 schools from across El Dorado County at the 41st annual Festival of Oral Interpretation, hosted by Pioneer Union School District (PUSD). Small groups of children hurried to classrooms across campus to deliver interpretive performances of poetry and prose. Students chose from famous works of literature and some composed original pieces. After every performance, a volunteer evaluator, members of the audience and student peers gave the orators complimentary and suggestive advice.

El Dorado County Supervisor, Shiva Frentzen, has volunteered for years and commented, “This is the best part of my work. It is uplifting to watch the kids perform. It’s great to be part of their experience and give them feedback. I look forward to it every year!”

Several El Dorado County Office of Education (EDCOE) team members also volunteered, and Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services Kevin Monsma was among them and noted, “EDCOE is proud to support the Pioneer Festival of Oral Interpretation as it provides a great venue for students in grades 4-8 throughout our county to read or recite a selection of poetry or prose. The students bring a vibrancy and enjoyment of publically sharing literary pieces with students from across the county. This year hundreds of students were able to showcase their talents and abilities and at the same time build confidence in the area of public speaking. Moreover, many students also take the opportunity to showcase their own original works of poetry and writing.” 

The event is not a competition but a safe place to help enhance public speaking and presentation skills. Rob Langford has volunteered since the event began 41 years ago and expressed, “As a professional speaker myself, I always tell the students that they are overcoming one of the greatest fears that people have. Most of your parents cannot do what you are doing.”

El Dorado County schools employ individual methods to select students. For example, Latrobe School District’s award-winning Speech Contest Program takes advantage of the entire school year to strengthen students’ public speaking skills. The district also includes a round robin competition in February, complete with the opportunity to move onto the Festival of Oral Interpretation. Sierra Grant is an 8th-grade Miller’s Hill (Latrobe School District) student and beautifully performed during the festival. “Today I will be informing you for three main topics. Generosity versus greed, inclusion versus exclusion, and forgiving versus begrudging.” 

The event has become an annual gathering of excited individuals, and attendees look forward to next year. “Thank you to the PUSD team, our volunteers, schools, and everyone who works incredibly hard to produce this wonderful event,” said PUSD Superintendent Annette Lane. “It is an annual celebration of the spoken word and our incredible students.”

For more information regarding Pioneer Union School District, visit www.pioneer.k12.ca.us