By Mary Maselli
It is 7 o’clock on Monday evening, and the room is filling quickly. Nervous and excited, the speakers are hidden backstage, reviewing their notes one final time. In a few minutes, five brave members of the Senior Class will deliver their presentations before a board of adjudicators.
The Senior Symposium is an annual event at Smithtown Christian School in which a handful of seniors deliver speeches about their thesis topics, along with a PowerPoint presentation. In the room are three adjudicators who then score the students, awarding partial scholarships to the top three.
To start off the fourth annual event, SCS Secondary Principal Mr. Anthony Buttacy greeted friends and family of the five seniors competing, as well as teachers, students, and administrators. He introduced the three adjudicators: Pastor John Francis, Dr. Heather Lee (elementary principal at SCS), and Mr. Michael Rubino. After the introduction, Pastor Roger Erdvig, SCS superintendent, prayed a special prayer over all of the speakers.
The first to present was Alisha Munoz. Alisha spoke about ‘Pharmaceutical Companies and Their Negative Impact on Society.’ It was a hard-hitting research-based study on the fallacies found in the medical industry and the negative effects of pharmaceutical drugs.
Next up was Elizabeth ‘Libby’ Morea. Libby delivered a powerful message about deliverance and demonization. In her project, titled ‘Deliverance Ministry: The Forgotten Truth,’ she discussed the importance of education concerning the supernatural.
Anna Casmass delivered her presentation on ‘Gangsta Rap.’ She explored topics such as the danger of absorbing explicit music content and how gangsta rap has contributed to a misogynistic society. She shed light on groundbreaking statistics such as 67 percent of
lyrics contain sexual objectification of women.
After Anna’s presentation, there was a 20-minute intermission with a combination of different snacks and beverages.
When the audience returned to Conference Room 3, Kevin Erdvig had taken the podium. Kevin’s presentation was a proposition to ‘Repeal the 17th Amendment. ‘He presented facts concerning the US Constitution and New York Legislature. His proposition was to create a new amendment, stating all senators should be determined by the State Legislature, senators should hold six-year terms, and there should be a limit to the number of terms that a senator can serve. Kevin’s presentation was filled with viable information, and intertwined with humor.
The final presenter was Alina Iaconis. Her speech was about ‘Immigration at its Finest.” Her topic covered a variety of subgenres, including the spectrum of cultural assimilation to acculturation to cultural pluralism. Iaconis intertwined personal anecdotes into her
presentation, including her mother’s Pakistani history and their life in America. She also shared the story of her grandmother’s journey to America from Italy; she was placed in kindergarten even though she was 12 years old.
After the last student had presented, there was another 20-minute intermission during which a light dessert was provided. At 9:15 p.m., all were called back into the conference room for the awards.
Anna Casmass came in first place and won a $500 scholarship to Lee University in Tennessee. Alina Iaconis placed second and received a $350 scholarship. Kevin Erdvig was third and won a $150 scholarship to attend the University of Valley Forge.
The evening was one of education and fellowship. All of the presentations were attention-grabbers, and the crowd was quiet, intrigued, and entertained the whole night through.