At a speech tournament organised by Abundant Life International School (ALIS) last weekend, Dr Susan S Beninate, international director of ALIS, spoke with Phnom Penh Post special reports editor Moeun Nhean about the school and its programs.
Can you tell me about your school’s background?
ALIS was established in 1987 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, and in 2006, it opened in Cambodia, offering the same quality of education without the expense of travelling to the US.
At ALIS, our vision is to see a strong, well-educated Cambodia. In order to achieve our vision, our graduates will be fluent in three languages: English, Chinese and Khmer. They will be confident and prepared for leadership with excellent moral integrity.
Why did ALIS conduct a speech tournament for students?
My desire is to educate young people who will be the Cambodian leaders of tomorrow. Our schools are very focused on developing leadership qualities in our students. Our speech tournament is part of the leadership program. In addition to developing public speaking skills, it serves to improve the character of the participants. Our long range plan is to enter our high school students an international speech competition. This can result in university scholarships and countless travel and educational opportunities for our students.
How old and in what grade are the students who participated in the contest?
All students studying in grade four or higher participated in the speech tournament. There are two categories for the tournament: elementary school students, grades four to grade six, and secondary school students, grade seven and higher.
What were the students judged on and who were the winners?
The students were judged on fluency, pronunciation, accuracy, confidence, general appearance, eye contact, enthusiasm, proper grammar and appropriate gesturing. In addition, grade seven students will be judged on their video presentation.
The 2015 ALIS Speech Championship for Secondary School 1st place winner was Ung Sethyka; 2nd place winner was Chhun Marimar; 3rd place winner was Kim Vuochleng.
For the elementary school contest, 1st place winner was Taing Sovan Veary Mony Odom; 2nd place winner was Khov Huyngim; 3rd place winner was Hong Linda.
What does your school plan to do next with the contest?
Since our international director was a first prize winner for many years, we have had a plan to send our winners to compete internationally in the United States.