A Senior Sweep!

The Class of 2023 dominates, as the 114th Oratorical returns to the GPAC for the first time since 2020


The Class of 2023 reacts to one of their four victories. Photo by Erica Mae Valdellon

Erica Mae Valdellon, Spotlight Editor

On March 3, 2023, Glendale High School held its 114th annual Oratorical in the Glendale Performing Arts Center. Oratorical is a speech and performing arts competition, where all four classes compete against one another in four categories: Speech, VAPA (composed of a tableau and a dance performance), Spirit, and Discipline. 

After three years of not being able to hold this event in the GPAC, the echoes of silence and noise blew the roof off the theater. Ultimately, the senior class came in first place in each category.

Oratorical has been an important ongoing tradition at GHS since 1910. This annual event has been celebrating the unity, honor, and school spirit of our school for over 100 years. Even during the recent pandemic, our classes have worked hard to keep Oratorical alive for every incoming high school student in March. 

This year, each class wrote a speech addressing the following prompt:

Throughout the history of the United States, gender inequality has been a defining issue. Studies show that women are underrepresented in leadership roles and face numerous other challenges, such as lower salaries, domestic violence, inadequate access to healthcare, and a lack of body autonomy. Despite these issues, some people believe that true gender equality is achievable, but what would this look like in practice?  Can we realistically expect to see gender equality in the United States?

In this year’s Speech competition, senior Francine Ghazarian finished first, with a speech titled “A Little Respect”. Junior speaker Julie Sarad finished second, with sophomore Ariga Safaryans and freshman Thora Anderson finishing in third and fourth, respectively.

Francine mentioned that she was very scared about being the speaker, because she was worried that she would forget everything that she’d memorized. However, she said that in the days coming up to Oratorical, she felt less nervous. 

When I first walked up on stage, it was terrifying to see all those people sitting there,” she said. “Then I remembered that my friends had told me to take some time and look around to get comfortable with my surroundings before starting my speech. I looked around the auditorium and searched for familiar faces, and when I felt more relaxed and ready, I started saying my speech.”

Francine believed that this experience was overall postive for her. “Even though it was stressful at times, the process of learning the speech, meeting up with the speech committee, and practicing with others was very fun,” she stated. “We all felt very close and connected together, and everyone was very supportive of me and those around them.”

Each speech was followed by a tableau (a frozen picture featuring living people and props) that depicted the themes and message of the composition. Each tableau was different, since all four classes addressed the prompt differently. 

This year, a dance component was added to the Oratorical, where a member of our drill team, representing each class, performed a song that was selected by the class council. Both the tableau and dance components fell under the category of VAPA.

The Class of 2023 won again in this category. Senior dancer Natalie Sargisyan performed an acrobatic routine to the Aretha Franklin classic “Respect”.

The junior dancer was Yunona Grigorgyan, the sophomore dancer was Juliette Tantsikian, and the freshman class was represented by Jayden Escobar.

Led by our Nitro cheerleaders, the Spirit competition consisted of two cheers and a song: “The Three G’s”, “The Power Yell”, and “Glendale Boys”. The volume is what matters here, and the judges voted that the senior class had the most spirit this year.

The Class of 2023 also won the Discipline category. Classes are judged on how proper and silent they are when it’s not their turn to cheer. Students are also not allowed to make any unnecessary movements, with their hands on their laps, facing forward, and listening to their class president.

Here are the results for this year’s Oratorical:


1st place: Class of 2023

Speaker: Francine Ghazarian; Speech Committee: Nikitha Ambatipudi, Kristina Kugaevskaya, Sheeva Manesh, Sarah Davtyan, Lizzie Davtyan, Riley Millward

2nd place: Class of 2024

Speaker: Julie Sarad; Speech Committee: Isabella Raigoza, Karo Boyajian, Edna Cardona, Alaina Galang 


1st place: Class of 2023

2nd place: Class of 2025


1st place: Class of 2023

Dancer: Natalie Sargisyan; Tableau: Sheeva Manesh, Liana Akopyan, Jonathan Guasch, Lia Mirzaian, Lizzie Davtyan, Sarah Davtyan, Emily Petrossian, Rafi Bustos, Anastasia Babusenko, Ellena Shahbandarian, Alisa Gezukarayan

2nd place: Class of 2025

Dancer: Juliette Tantsikian; Tableau: Tiffany Duarte, Emma Dewan, Mika Valiente, Emerson Whiting, Quan Tran, Cedric Tanjoco, Mauro Ewart, Caleb Shimasaki, Leah Gaddes, Joshua Perez-Ferrufino


1st place: Class of 2023

2nd place: Class of 2024

Congratulations to everyone who participated in this year’s Oratorical! You guys did an amazing job! Finally, Congratulations to the senior class!

Keep getting involved, because there is always next year, Nitros!