San Francisco Participants Awarded First Place – Senior Division, and Second Place – Junior Division

Congratulations to the two finalists from the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco who participated in the National Saint John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival on June 8, 2019 at the Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church in Port Washington, NY.

Naomi Solomon
Naomi Solomon placed first in the Senior division.

Representing the Senior Division was Naomi Solomon, a 16-year old from Saint Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church in Peoria, AZ. Her inspiring speech was on the topic, “Describe how science and technology should always be at the service of humanity and, ultimately, of God, in harmony with His purposes.” and she was awarded First Place in the Senior Division for the Archdiocese. Read Naomi’s speech here.

Natalia Tucker
Natalia Tucker placed second in the junior division.

Natalia Tucker, a 14-year old from Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Scottsdale, AZ, represented the Junior Division for our Metropolis and gave a most relevant speech on the topic, “Martyrs of the Church and some of the early monastics are both described as “athletes.” What does it mean to be an athlete for Christ?”. Natalia was awarded Second Place in the Junior Division for the Archdiocese. Read Natalia’s speech here.

“I am very proud of these two eloquent young women and their participation in the Saint John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival,” stated His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. “The efforts they put forth to prepare their speeches and speak with such poise, grace, and especially conviction for our faith, is most uplifting. Our entire Metropolis congratulates them on this achievement and pray that they continue to proclaim the Word of God with such articulacy and steadfastness.”

Naomi will be entering her Junior year at Basis Phoenix High School where she is active in the Debate and Drama Clubs. She is also a trained dancer, plays piano and sings. She attends church faithfully at her parish of Saint Haralambos in Peoria, AZ, and participates in Sunday School and volunteers at the annual parish Greek Festival. Naomi had the opportunity to travel with her father, Dr. Solomon Waldesilassie, to Ethiopia for a medical outreach program, and has also visited Haiti and volunteered at an orphanage.

Az Families At Shrine
Families of the two finalists at Saint Nicholas Shrine at the World Trade Center.

Natalia is a 14-year old entering her studies in the 9th grade a homeschool student. She is very active at her parish of Assumption in Scottsdale, AZ, singing in the choir, participating in Greek Dance and was in the award-winning Fotofori Youth Choir from the parish which received 2nd Place at the 2019 Folk Dance and Choral Festival held in February 2019. She will be embarking on the study of Byzantine Chant this summer. Natalia is also very athletic and plays Basketball, Volleyball, and Soccer.

During their time in New York, the Oratorical Festival participants and their families visited the Saint Nicholas Shrine at the World Trade Center, and also saw an enthralling production of Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.