Take 76 eighth-grade students, ask them to find topics for a persuasive speech, and prepare to be impressed with the results. Several weeks ago, students chose topics and then researched, wrote, and memorized their speeches. The entire cohort then delivered their talks to audiences of peers and three teachers; 20 semi-finalists then addressed a panel of faculty and staff judges. This morning, seven finalists spoke eloquently and passionately in front of a panel of invited judges and the entire Middle School about their chosen topics: single-payer health care system, community gardens, ending the stigma about menstruation, euthanasia, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, underrepresentation of Asian Americans in entertainment, and education. After the speeches, judges deliberated, and after what must have been a nearly impossible task for the judges, Dr. Farrar announced a winner.