NEW BEDFORD – Scholars at Alma del Mar will honor the life and work of Frederick Douglass with a public speaking competition scheduled for Feb. 14, Douglass’ birthday.
“This competition is meant to teach our scholars the power of public speaking and to cultivate their rising leadership at Alma,” said Justin Edwards, Assistant Principal at Alma’s Sarah D. Ottiwell Campus. “We hope to celebrate scholarship, leadership and service with this annual event.”
The event, which Alma intends to hold annually, is open to all scholars in grades 5-8. Scholars in these grades have spent the past several weeks selecting a famous speech to give and practicing their presentation. After competing in grade-level competitions the week of Feb. 2, the finalists from each grade will compete during Middle School Town Hall on Feb. 14.
A panel of judges, which will include Rep. Christopher Hendricks, Alma del Mar Board of Trustees members Maria Rosario and Martha Kay, will preside over the event. February 14 has been recognized as Frederick Douglass Day in the Commonwealth since 2018, when legislation created by Senator Mark Montigny was passed into law.
“It is important that we remember and honor the work of Frederick Douglass as he played an integral part in the history of New Bedford and the abolitionist movement. I’m proud to have played a part in honoring him when I proposed legislation, which became law, creating Frederick Douglass Day on February 14th,” said Senator Montigny. “He deserves to be more widely known and his messages of tolerance and equality are still as powerful today as when he first delivered them. A public speaking competition in his honor is very appropriate as it gives scholars the opportunity to develop the skills to communicate clearly and passionately.”
Alma’s newest campus is named in honor of Douglass, one of the most prominent abolitionists and civil rights leaders in the struggle for equality in the United States. Douglass lived in New Bedford in the mid-1800s after escaping slavery. His powerful testimony — both spoken and written — is a fixture in Alma’s curriculum, and scholars across grade levels study his work and life each year.
About Alma del Mar Charter Schools:
Alma del Mar Charter Schools operates two charter public schools in New Bedford. The schools are tuition-free. Alma’s mission is to put every one of our scholars on the path to college and to challenge them to be service-minded leaders. We achieve this mission by providing a demanding and supportive education to every scholar who walks through our doors. Alma features a longer school day, a longer school year, high expectations for all scholars, and outstanding teachers from across the country. We currently serve 650 scholars across two campuses.