“I will use each day to the fullest. I promise that each day shall be gained, not lost, used, not thrown away.” That affirmation is an excerpt from the school creed recited by students each day at the O.W. Holmes Humanities/Communications Academy. The brainchild of Holmes’ Principal Sharron Jackson, the creed is meant to set the tone for a positive day of study and academic progress for the school’s 750 students.
Schools often employ creeds as a sort of mission statement that builds students’ sense of self-worth and shapes their attitudes toward school and learning. Members of the Holmes’ student Toastmasters group will recite the creed at this Friday’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory competition. The Toastmasters are part of speech therapist and teacher Christi Canady-Boyd’s instructional program at Holmes.
The group grew out of her work with students at Holmes and other schools to conquer speech impediments and build language skills. She says the Toastmasters group is an extension of her work to help students become more confident speakers.
Canady-Boyd has a special interest in the orators who will compete in Friday’s event. Annually, she volunteers to conduct speech workshops with the oratory competitors to prepare them for their moment in the spotlight and beyond.
“Speaking is part of life. Whatever you decide to do in life involves communicating,” says Boyd. “Few students are exposed to formal instruction in public speaking or debate training. In our Toastmasters group and in the MLK speech workshop, we expose students to what it’s like to speak in front of an audience so it won’t be so overwhelming.”
Canady-Boyd hopes her tutelage will boost the confidence of the eight oratory finalists and that the audience will be inspired by the positive affirmations shared by the Holmes’ Toastmasters as they recite their school creed.