Fifth grade orators impress crowd during competition at South Brunswick Library


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It appears that our future is in good hands if you listened to the fifth graders speaking at the South Brunswick Public Library Foundation’s Young Orators Competition on Nov. 24, according to publicity director Rosemary Gohd.

Dressed in their best and seated in rows facing an audience of friends and family, each of the participants waited their turn to speak for two to seven minutes in the large meeting room of the library, Gohd said in a prepared statement.

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After more than two-and-a-half hours, three winners were chosen from the 17 speakers:

  • Arav Malhotra of Millstone River School in West Windsor won first place for a speech about the environment.
  • Mohammed Balsara of Constable Elementary School in the Kendall Park section of South Brunswick won second place for a speech about social media.
  • Spriha Subbiah of Brunswick Acres Elementary School in Kendall Park won third place for a speech about social media.

At registration, participants were asked to choose from three topics: Building community, the environment and social media, and then write a 150-word essay about the chosen topic.

This is the first time the Library Foundation has organized a student public speaking competition.

“Public speaking is a critical skill that is best practiced early in a student’s career,” Bina Mehta, event chair and foundation secretary, said in the statement.

Mehta said the goal of this new competition is to help the young students build skills to speak and write creatively and confidently.

“This is what libraries do. Literary support is a way for the Library Foundation to give back to the community for generations to come,” she said in the statement.


The public speaking competition is for children in third, fourth and fifth grades; a separate competition is planned for each grade level. There will be first, second and third place winners for each grade level competition. All participants receive a t-shirt and a Certificate of Achievement.

Every one of the children were able to speak with confidence, Mehta said in the statement, adding that the board members were impressed with the performance of every student in this first competition.

The fourth graders were set to compete on Dec. 8. Third graders will compete on Jan. 12.

The SBPL Foundation’s Young Orators Competition series is presented in partnership with the CKW Academy and the Youth Leadership Development Program.


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