WEST POINT, NY -- Daniel Read from West Point Middle School was awarded 1st Place in the Second Annual West Point Middle School Speech Contest, June 2.

The contest was open to all students' in West Point Middle School and the theme of the contest was "A Volunteer Who Made a Difference."

The speech contest was founded by Maggie Haley, an 11th grader at James I. O'Neill High School in the Village of Highland Falls, New York.

Haley was a state speech contest champion when she was in middle school in North Carolina. Upon realizing that there was no similar program here at West Point, she decided to share her love of public speaking with the students of West Point Middle School by starting a school-wide speech contest with the support of West Point Middle School's Principal Miles Shea and their English teachers. Haley secured a grant from the West Point Spouse's Club and additional monies from the West Point School's Parent Teacher Organization to fund awards and supplies for three years of speech contests.

Each grade level had two finalists. These finalists then competed against each other in the final competition. The judges represented the West Point Garrison, West Point Schools and the West Point community. Topics of the students' speeches ranged from animal rescuers during Hurricane Katrina, Young Life Camp volunteers and 911 rescuers.

Grade 5 Finalists:
Maddie McInvale
Daniel Read

Grade 6 Finalists:
Madalyn Thiriot
Rian Gage

Grade 7 Finalists:
Brayden Holler
Emme Richards

Grade 8 Finalists:
Charlee Van Poppel
Justus Crowe

Daniel Read was awarded 1st Place for his speech honoring Ms. Musteen, a volunteer physical therapist in 3rd world countries. Charlee Van Poppel earned 2nd Place for her speech on volunteers who support the Ronald McDonald House. Maddie McInvale was awarded 3rd Place for her speech celebrating her Aunt, Tia McInvale, and her work in orphanages in Honduras.

Judges for the contest were: Col. Andrew Hanson, US Army Garrison West Point Commander;
Dr. Kitty Clarke, Reading Specialist, West Point Elementary School and Luciana Herman, President, West Point Spouses Club.