SCF Collegiate School Student Spends the Summer Performing

(Bradenton, Fla., June 7, 2016) — Kaitlin Folsom, a rising senior at State College of Florida Collegiate School (SCFCS), has spent much of the spring performing her speech on what it means to be an American. The speech intertwines a poem she wrote with stanzas from the national anthem that she sings a capella.

Folsom took first place in the state for her Americanism Speech at the Florida Exchange Club competition earlier this year, winning $3,500 in scholarships. Since then she has given her moving speech to several organizations. Folsom is scheduled to give her speech again June 9 at the SCFCS Awards night.

Giving such a speech might be daunting for some, but Folsom has been named one of the 2016 Songbook Academy National Finalists for her singing abilities. The Great American Songbook Foundation, founded by Grammy-nominated vocalist Michael Feinstein, has selected 40 students from across the country to participate in the 2016 Songbook Academy. She is set to compete for one of the top awards on July 23 at the Songbook Academy final concert at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Ind.

The winner will receive the Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador Award and have the opportunity to perform with Feinstein throughout the year. Two other awards, the Songbook Inspiration Award and Songbook Celebration Award, will offer winners the opportunity to perform with Feinstein.

Folsom’s family was the inspiration for her speech. Her mother emigrated from the Philippines when she was 13 and her grandfather and great-grandfather served in the military. Her great-grandfather was a World War II veteran. Their experiences helped her with her material for her poem on the American dream.

She told the judges at the speech contest, “Our nation and our flag was the symbol for sacrifices people have made. That goes for my grandfather who served in the Vietnam War and for my mother whose family came here to start their lives over basically. We are all unified under the sacrifices.”

“My mom is an incredible inspiration and I am so thankful every day that she has been there,” Folsom said.  

Folsom wants to attend New York University or the Berklee College of Music in Boston to study music after she graduates. “Above all music would be what I want to do,” she said. “But my parents are always making me levelheaded, saying that music is unpredictable. So I’ve been examining other options.”

For information about the speech contest, contact SCFCS Advisor Matt Bowman at

Kaitlin Folsom

Kaitlin Folsom

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