Medomak Middle School student Destiny Mackenzie stood at a podium in front of all her classmates May 5 and gave the winning performance in the school’s public speaking contest by reciting “Sick” by Shel Silverstein.

“My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight, My temperature is one-o-eight,” Mackenzie said. “My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear, There is a hole inside my ear. I have a hangnail, and my heart is — what? What’s that? What’s that you say? You say today is … Saturday? G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

Mackenzie was one of 27 students who recited 20 lines of poetry or prose for the 11th annual public speaking contest organized by teachers Lorraine Knight and Peggy Lincoln. For the last seven years, Waldoboro American Legion Post 149 has partnered with the school.

“It takes a lot of hard work and courage to do this,” Lincoln said as she and Knight opened the speech contest. “We are proud of you all.”

The students were judged on eye contact and expressions, preparedness, standing confidently, giving credit to the author, and using appropriate voice and volume. The degree of difficulty was also considered by judges Nancy Durgin, Deb Escorsio, Wayne Stevens, Vincent Vannah, Wally Decoster and Superintendent Francis Boynton.

Some of the students participating were Courtney McDonald, Amanda Young, Ellen Tuttle, Micah Zisette, Shannon Staples, Olivia Ryan, Jared Mank, Ashton Harvey, Molly Clevette, Adam Cronk, Patrick Melody, Delaney Overlock, Ben Rawstron, Kaitlyn Hanson, Joseph Lobley, Clarence Porter, Josh Lee, Alex Benner, Oliver Fenn, Noah Beck, Alyssa Ducharme, Bekah Hilt, Stephen Carleton and Mackenzie.

Their fellow students sat in the bleachers of the gym and held up signs to root for the speakers. Many of the young orators gave moving speeches.

Ellen Tuttle recited “Seven Ages of Man” by William Shakespeare. “Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything,” Tuttle said to finish the poem.

Delaney Overlock recited “The man who thinks he can” by Walter D. Wintle. “Life’s battles don’t always go to the / Stronger or the faster man / But sooner or later, the man who wins / Is the man who thinks he can,” Overlock said.

Kaitlyn Hanson recited “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou. “I walk into a room,” Hanson said. “Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees. Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees. I say, It’s the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet. I’m a woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.”

Josh Lee chose Alabama’s “Song of the South” and recited “Song, song of the south / Sweet potato pie and I shut my mouth / Gone, gone with the wind / There ain’t nobody looking back again.”

Ben Rawstron recited “If” by Rudyard Kipling, which includes the lines “If you can make one heap of all your winnings / And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss / And lose, and start again at your beginnings / And never breath a word about your loss.”

Noah Beck recited “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. He brought the Battle of Balaclava to the middle school with the lines “Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them / Volley’d and thunder’d; Storm’d at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell / Rode the six hundred.”

Principal Benjamin Vail thanked friends and family for showing their support, Carmine Greenrose for serving as the moderator, the teaching staff for the classroom speeches, the American Legion for its partnership, and Knight and Lincoln for their continued leadership. Vail said it takes a lot of gumption to stand before one’s peers and give a speech. He said it is a great learning tool and something that will serve the students well.

Wally Decoster of the American Legion thanked the organizers and the students for participating. The 27 student orators wore American Legion pins. He gave plaques to Knight and Lincoln to thank them for leading the public speaking contest.

The other top winners in the public speaking contest were Ellen Tuttle, second place; Olivia Ryan, third place; Josh Lee, fourth place; Joseph Lobley, fifth place; and Amanda Young, fifth place.