Skip To Main Content

From the head

Finding our voice and having the courage to use that voice with confidence is important. The all-school public speaking class is a Saturday morning tradition at Hyde; it is a place where students and faculty find value in learning how to strengthen their public speaking skills.


Speaking in public has been called one of the greatest human fears, and we can all relate to the hesitancy to speak up--especially in a group. Most of our traditional schooling places an emphasis on encouraging us to sit quietly and take our cues from the teacher up in front of the class. Yet put us on the playground at recess, and you see very different voices and body movements: "Hey! Throw me the ball! Over here! You can't do that!" This is our Playground Voice. On Saturday, we started with a demonstration of this by having some students reenact a childhood playground scene, and we then discussed the differences between the passive inside voice and the active voice we used when we were outside with our friends.


Our main activity in this first session was to ask volunteers to get up and experience using their playground voices to rally the group. We practiced with the following words:


"Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their country."


What happened next was amazing, as student after student, and a few faculty members, jumped up to belt out the line. The cheers were deafening as the audience acknowledged the students who were stepping far out of their comfort zones. As veteran faculty member Pam Bertschy '81 said, 'The opening of Public Speaking was met with over-the-top enthusiasm and genuine support. Many new and veteran students took to the podium and used dramatic pauses, hand gestures, and eye contact to garner reactions. No one left disappointed!"


Public speaking is not always on everyone's wish list for Saturday morning, but it is something special at Hyde. Alumni often speak about this as a key part of their Hyde education. Saturday was a great start to the year!


Laura D. Gauld '76

Archive: From the Head