From the Bronx to Yale: The Power of High School Speech

Below is an inspiring 13-minute documentary about a group of high school students and their teachers from Democracy Prep school in the South Bronx, New York. They compete in a variety of speech contests at the local, district, state and national levels.

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 09.45.38The students are not rich and many come from difficult backgrounds. For them, “Speech” offers both a constructive, creative forum in which to focus their energies and talents, and a chance to win scholarships that will allow them to attend university. It’s well worth watching.

I particularly appreciate the wisdom of precocious 14-year-old Emmanuel De La Rosa at 9:35 of the film:

I don’t want to just do it to try to win something. I want to do it to make people laugh and connect with the audience.


About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
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4 Responses to From the Bronx to Yale: The Power of High School Speech

  1. Julie Zimmer says:

    What a great way to help kids!

  2. Rashid says:

    WOW! Thanks so much for sharing. You are doing GOOD WORK by spreading messages like these.

    “Start speaking when you are young is a message that ought to be spread far and wide.” TED’s Chris Anderson makes the same point with “Today in the connected era, we should resurrect the noble art and make it education’s fourth R: reading, ’riting, ’rithmetic … and rhetoric.”

    Here’s another youngster shinning through speaking. This would have placed in every humorous contest I’ve ever attended.

    • John Zimmer says:

      Thank you, Rashid. Much appreciated. Thank you also for the video. I had seen it before but it is good to share it here. The kid is hilarious and was recently invited on Jimmy Fallon’s show. Here’s the link.

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