Monday, December 21, 2009

Road Trip!

Bronx Prep Speech Brings Twenty to Virginia as Program Continues its Expansion

Fairfax, VA - The BP Speech Team competed in the Patriot Games over the first weekend of December at the campus of George Mason University outside of Washington, D.C., fielding its biggest squad to date. Twelve students made up a whopping 33 entries while seven chaperones came along for the trip as well as one mascot, Siri Quarfordt.

The team competed in eight different events, with some students entered in as many as five events as they worked through an extremely long day of competition on Saturday. In the evening, the team gathered in one of its four hotel rooms to touch base and marvel at the growth that's come about this season. The names are too many to list, so shoutouts to the chaperones that donated an entire weekend of their time to supervise and judge for Bronx Prep: Ms. Melkonian, Ms. Wilson, Ms. Bryant, Ms. Rodriguez and her husband, Mr. Laboy all joined Mr. Simon and Ms. Q and are responsible for allowing the team to compete in so many events. Their committment over the weekend makes our progress possible.

The results? The team may have traded quantity for quality as only one of the thirty-three entries saw action past the preliminary rounds. It should be no surprise that that was senior and Team Manager, Chris Moncrief, a nationally-recognized speaker who reached the Semifinal round of Original Oratory, but was denied a spot in the Final Six for a second year in a row.

For the rest of the team, it's go time. The hiatus over the winter break is short and vital as the team prepares for competitions practically every weekend when school resumes. The raw elements are there: The Talent (never in question), The Coaching (now a staff of three with the addition of Ms. Sheridan Johnson), The Support (see the list of mad chaperones above), and The Pieces (have you heard about The Shipment...?). The only thing missing from this list is the one thing keeping the team from its most successful year yet: Hard Work. Focus, committment and practice, practice, practice will bring this squad to the next level. This is one blogger shooting for quality to match quantity when this expanding squad embarks on its next road trip.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Glory and Heartbreak in the City of Brotherly Love

BP Speech traveled to Philadelphia over the weekend of November 21-22 and saw experienced members of the team leading by example, with seniors Chris Moncrief, Tayshawn Layton and Deborah Allen-Carr all reaching the Semifinals of the nationally-competitive Villiger Invitational at St. Joseph's University.

It was a spirited squad that traipsed around the Gothic architecture of the West Philly campus with the Now-Familiar Student Congress team (Monica Lindsay, Autumwind Spear, Norberto Troncoso), the Active Upstart (Marissa Charlemagne - presenting three different pieces), and the Old Standards (Keegon Robinson, Moncrief, Alenn-Carr and Layton). Nearly every student double-entered for the tournament, competing in two different events, sometimes with two memorized pieces. It was Chris Moncrief who scored big in both his events, reaching the Quarterfinals and then the Semifinals in both Original Oratory and Oral Interpretation - putting him in the top twelve finishers in both competitions, but leaving him one round shy of Finals competitions. Meanwhile, the Duo team of Tayshawn Layton and Deborah Allen-Carr presented their interpretation of the play, Matt and Ben, portraying Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. They played to a packed audience in the Semis round, but also missed out on Finals.

The results are clear indications of the hard work and progress going on after school in the Library and Room 201, as well as an indication of the room for improvement needed to make a Finals push at the upcoming competitions.

Other non-competition related highlights for the team were a raucous evening at IHOP followed by the annual Villiger Dance Party, where the team amazed fellow competitors with mad crazy dance moves.

Huge thanks from the team to Halie Berson and John Aronson for judging, chaperoning - you made the whole trip possible.

Next up is the big, bad Patriot Games tournament all the way down in Fairfax, Virginia. Stay tuned for the full report.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Another Rookie Sensation? BP Speech Expanding in All Directions

The Bronx Prep Speech Team debuted a number of fresh faces at the team's backyard tournament held at Fordham University. Jyeisha Reyes, Marcus Smith, Melanie Nyarko, Marissa Charlemagne, and Monica Lindsay all competed in their first tournament while Matt Alston and Tiffany McLarty made their 09-10 season debuts. Meanwhile, team Manager Chris Moncrief extended his breaking streak by representing the team in the finals of Original Oratory.

Preparing for a speech tournament is hard work and the coach and team officers want to shout out each new competitor for getting up early, getting dressed up, putting it on the line and performing in front of judges and competitors from all over the city. The atmosphere at the tournament was as electric as always and seems to have made an impact on the new speech team members; Marcus, Marissa and Monica have all begun traveling with the team as competition regulars and Jyeisha and Melanie have a coach cutting their own piece for them for next month!

In addition to new faces, the Bronx Prep team added an entire competition event to its repetoire as the Student Congress team also made its debut in the form of Norberto Troncoso, Autumnwind Spear and Monica Linsday. These students became representatives and senators for the day, debating legislation and making speeches. The Congress team learned a lot at Fordham and set some clear goals for themselves as this burgeoning branch of the BP Speech Team continues to grow.

And the hardware? That belonged to Chris Moncrief who surprised no one in the building by appearing in the final round of Oratory. But there's clearly still work to be done - Chris finished out of the top 5 and was recognized as a Finalist.

From humble beginnings and a small squad as recently as last year, this season's Bronx Prep team could regularly be bringing a dozen students to local competitions. If these fresh faces find success like last year's squad... the forensics students in the New York City League may have cause for concern.