East Aurora High School hosts Mikva Soapbox Speech Challenge

East Aurora High School students participated in the Mikva Soapbox Speech Challenge on Tuesday, March 21, preparing and delivering a series of civic speech presentations.

Over 70 students from Plainfield East, West Aurora and East Aurora high schools competed in this one-day event.

The Mikva Challenge encourages students to find their voice on issues that affect them and their communities and prepares them to be informed citizens and leaders by involving them in civic project-based learning.

Kelly Henkel, East Aurora High School Division Chair for World Cultures, said that as part of the Illinois Civics Standards all students had to complete an assessment as part of their class.

This challenge is a culmination of hundreds of government civics students across three high schools that were nominated to participate in the event.

Some of the speech topics included gun violence, homelessness, hate crimes, domestic violence and mental health, to name a few. All students were judged by a panel of judges that included school board members, city alderman, and retired educators.

U.S. Congressman Bill Foster delivered opening remarks encouraging students to use their skills and knowledge to be impactful and to engage in the workings of democracy.

Also addressing the students were City of Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, Bolingbrook Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta and North Aurora Village President Mark Gaffino.

The competition ended with eight finalists delivering their speeches in front of their peers and judges.

Plainfield East High School took home the student choice award as well as second place.

East Aurora High School's very own Grace Alcalde took first place whose speech centered on women's health care access. Congratulations Grace and to all students that participated.

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