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Meet the seven Pingry seniors—equally committed in the classroom as they are in their sport—who earned this year's conference, county, Prep, and state honors. 

Noah Bergam '21 Wins LeBow Oratorical Competition

During one of the most eagerly anticipated assemblies of the year, the Dr. Robert H. LeBow '58 Memorial Oratorical Competition, held on February 22, Middle and Upper School students listened to speeches by six sophomores and juniors: Carolyn Coyne '21, Alexandra Weber '20, Noah Bergam '21, Kaley Taylor '21, Jamie Wang '20, and Aneesh Karuppur '21. The judges named Noah the winner and Kaley the runner-up.


The competition was funded in 2005 through the generosity of the Class of 1958, led by the late William Hetfield, in memory of their classmate. (It continues a tradition of public speaking that began during Dr. Pingry's tenure; read more in "Pingry Flashes Back"). Dr. LeBow was an accomplished public speaker, addressing audiences worldwide about the need for health care reform. While working for the U.S. Agency for International Development, Dr. LeBow and his wife Gail lived in numerous developing countries and provided medical services to underserved populations. Dr. LeBow is the author of Health Care Meltdown: Confronting the Myths and Fixing Our Failing System, a book drawn from his public speaking engagements.

Dr. LeBow's classmate Dr. James G. Smith '58 attended the competition, as he has in past years. He recalled Dr. LeBow as being so grateful for his education, especially at Pingry, that he spent his life giving back.


Oratorical Highlights


Carolyn Coyne ("Drink the Water") observed that people often complain without thinking about real struggles in the world. "Look deeper," she said. For example, two million people die each year from dehydration—students should feel grateful for their food, education, and so much more.


Alexandra Weber ("The True Meaning of Music to My Ears"), reflecting on the challenges that have affected her family over the years, spoke about the power of music, whether as therapy or a time capsule. "It is the great communicator," she said, referring to its words and emotions. "Let music be a force in your life."


Noah Bergam ("Chasing Memes") asked a question about these photo/phrase combinations: What are memes? In his opinion, the most successful memes are simple and not intellectually stimulating. Instead, he argues that we need to chase true merit, engage in activities that lengthen our attention spans, and embrace the complexities of the world around us.


Kaley Taylor ("Be Open and Be Aware") pointed out that many students joke about sensitive topics without thinking about others' situations in life. In her own case, Kaley spent time living with her extended family, without her father. "Everyone is dealing with something," she said. "Care about those around you . . . be aware of their stories."


Jamie Wang ("Barking Up the Right Tree") recalled her crush as a budding teenager, the feeling of "puppy love." She also recalled starting to date him a year later, the fact that he made her happy . . . and then the heartbreak of breaking up. Considering many instances of heartbreak in life, for her the question has become: What do I love?


Aneesh Karuppur ("Sorting Through Pingry's History") enjoyed his time working in Pingry's archives over the summer—the first time he had really dealt with "old" things. Between renaming photos and cataloguing papers, he had endless opportunities to learn about changes at the School over the decades. He encouraged the audience to learn about the School as well.


Top photo: Aneesh Karuppur '21, Jamie Wang '20, Noah Bergam '21, Kaley Taylor '21, Carolyn Coyne '21, and Alexandra Weber '20.

Bottom photo: Assistant Headmaster-Basking Ridge Campus Dr. Delvin Dinkins, Headmaster Nat Conard P '09, '11, Noah Bergam '21, Competition Coordinator Rich Karrat, and Dr. James G. Smith '58.

Contact: Greg Waxberg '96, Communications Writer