Speaking of Success: Grant Bell

By Eddie Rodrigues, Clarion Staff

The JFK student body, being exceedingly diverse, is home to a menagerie of gifted, unique individuals, many of who exceeds expectations and stand out from societal norms. These students possess a passion towards a certain subject and/or activity that enables them to rise above and defeat their challenges. One of these students is Kennedy freshman, Grant Bell.

Grant (9), a member of the PACE program, is an accomplished public speaker, having competed in multiple speech and debate tournaments. He is enrolled in the competitive speech and debate class, offered here on campus during zero period. When asked about the early start to his day, Grant responded, “It’s not that bad waking up early every morning once you get used to it, and the class is very fun and you get the opportunity to compete for prize money at tournaments.”

Grant Bell shown competing in Poetry Out Loud event in December, 2017.  Photo by Meng Thao

Having done speech and debate since seventh grade at Sutter Middle School, Grant has overcome the nervousness, usually associated with public speaking. Feeling confident in front of a crowd, Grant reassured the Clarion of the bravado, “…you just get over it, I didn’t care what other people thought. I just said what had to be said and that was enough.” He plans on continuing with the speech and debate team throughout his four years in high school.

Grant finished in the top of all tournaments he has competed in. He was one of four Kennedy students to participate in the Congress finals at the Davis High School California Valley Forensics League competition held in December 2017. Being a freshman makes the fact that he placed in finals for his very first debate, that much more impressive.

In addition, Grant recently participated in this year’s Poetry Out Loud event, just barely missing the opportunity to compete in the district tournament. He was within words of winning the entire thing. “The judges told me I missed one word, which lowered my overall score,” Bell responded.

Within his first year of high school, Grant Bell has challenged his fellow, often older, classmates as well as rival schools in the field of public speaking, ranging from poetry recitations to congressional debates, with much success. Three more years at Kennedy holds great promise for the up and coming speaker.

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