Ninth graders stand tall at Grand sTAnds

Ninth graders stand tall at Grand sTAnds

Upper School English 
Teacher Adam Kuhlmann

In clear and cogent language, eight ninth graders recently shared what they stood for in remarks before their classmates assembled in Memorial Gym for Grand sTAnds, a grade-wide public speaking tradition. 

As part of the overall process, all ninth graders make presentations, roughly three minutes in length and between 300 and 500 words, in their respective English classes. Each class then selects a representative to present before the entire ninth grade. This year’s all-grade event was held May 13. 

“Today, eight of you are standing up to let your voices be heard,” said English Teacher Adam Kuhlmann, who congratulated the students on their courage. Kuhlmann coordinates Grand sTAnds efforts for the department. 

The topics and the tone varied, but all presentations held the attention of their peers. Whether it was the oddly comforting sound of an ambulance siren, the value of really getting to know someone, or the need to overcome the fear of letting someone else really know you, the speakers used their rhetorical skills to effectively make their points. One speaker shared the emergence of her religious beliefs while another praised the qualities of a trusted — albeit worn and, yes, ugly — jacket (For the record, the jacket’s name is … Dave.). Other topics discussed that morning included the bonding properties of long car rides, the importance of family vacations, and the inevitability of change. 

Grand sTAnds represents the ninth grade component of Thayer’s commitment to leadership communication and public speaking across all grade levels. The sequenced array of curricular opportunities, which begins in the Middle School, not only develops effective public presentation skills but also highlights the art of storytelling, the value of connecting with multiple audiences, and the importance of articulating ideas in impactful ways. 

Connor Cigna '27

The eight Grand sTAnds presenters were: 

Katherine Smallcomb 

Ella Sheehan 

Austin Archabal 

Lyla Chiusolo 

Ana Sullivan 

Sadie Borushko 

Molly Bingham 

Connor Cigna

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