Ariel Kim ’20 Wins Goodyear competition in world history

Ariel Kim '20 presents on how the Black Death helped lay the foundation for modern Europe.

Ariel Kim ’20 presents on how the Black Death helped lay the foundation for modern Europe.

This year’s winner of the Goodyear Presentations in World History is Ariel Kim, who explored how the Black Death helped lay the foundation for modernity in Europe.

The fourth year of the sophomore Goodyear Presentations in World History concluded with four finalists, who delivered speeches centering on history in front of their peers on the night of Monday, January 22. In this annual tradition, all sophomores taking World History research a topic and perfect their public speaking through thesis-driven speeches. This competition differs from Choate’s other speech competitions in that students explore a thesis not only through words, but through a visual aid. The four finalists were Medina Purefoy-Craig ’20, William Robertson ’20, Ariel Kim ’20, and Siri Palreddy ’20.

Competition namesake, Mr. Zachary Goodyear, worked at Choate as a history and political science teacher. He was also very involved with Choate’s public speaking initiatives. Former English teacher Mr. Trevor Peard, who took charge of the public speaking programs as Mr. Goodyear’s successor, approached the HPRSS department about creating a fourth-form speech competition. The department found it fitting to name it after Mr. Goodyear, who was passionate about history and public speaking.

The four finalists were chosen from a pool of the finalists from each World History class. Palreddy’s topic was French salons and women’s rights during the Enlightenment, Robertson presented on Marxism after the Industrial Revolution, and Purefoy-Craig spoke about slavery during the Industrial Revolution. Purefoy-Craig has experience with speech competitions, as she won last year’s third form English competition.

Inspiration for the topics came from many sources. “Since we could choose any topic, I encountered the Black Death just because I wanted to do something about a disease,” Kim said.

Palreddy commented, “I think I was just very passionate about this topic –– it resonated with me. I was actually inspired by the winter play Choate is showing, Blue Stockings.”

“I really like politics and political structures, and I put a good period of time trying to find a topic I could be passionate about,” Robertson explained.

Ms. Amy Foster, HPRSS Department Head, said, “We hope this program promotes strong speaking and presentation skills as well as supporting our department’s efforts to teach research and analytical skills.”

Kim’s advice for rising sophomores, who will participate next year, is, “Having good content really mattered. Having a very clear idea and focusing your argument is important.”

The teachers who run the competition take pride in students’ speeches. Ms. Foster said, “I am always impressed by finalists and learn something new every year.”

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