Wednesday, October 6, 2010

BP Speech Begins Local Season on Cloud 9!


Bronx Prep's speech team began it's campaign in the New York Catholic Forensics League over the weekend and the results show only promise for this year's reloaded squad.

Joy Akinfenwa led the way with a huge 3rd place finish in Varsity Prose, while Sahirah Johnson reached the final round in Dramatic Performance and the whole team combined for a 9th place finish in the Team Sweepstakes awards.

Look to that 9th place Sweepstakes finish as a very positive indicator to big future success for this young squad of talented individuals. The Sweepstakes award uses a point system to add up the achievements of each single competitor in order to give each school attending the tournament an overall score. The award recognizes not only the achievements of a school at a given tournament, but also the size of the team they're able to prepare for competition (in the NYCFL, the Sweepstakes award is almost always won by one of the schools fielding the biggest team). In the past, Bronx Prep has been shut out of a Sweepstakes finish, even when seeing a student win a tournament, because the small size of the team has kept them out of the running. But Saturday, BP broke through into the top ten as the whole team left their mark on the tournament.

That team featured several students who are due recognition for competing in their first tournament ever. These were freshmen Lyvette Soto, Lisette Soto, Jada Gordon, and sophomores Simone Johnson and Omar Ortiz. Every one of these students posted strong ranks and enjoyed the thrill of competition for the very first time.

Meanwhile, the junior members of the Speech Team led by example. Although they're both new to competition, Sahirah Johnson and Joy Akinfenwa acted like seasoned pros as they were featured as Finalists in their respective events. Sahirah's portrayal of Billie Holiday at various stages throughout her life earned her a tie for 6th place - just shy of a half-qualification for the State Championships.

BP's other representative in a Final Round was Joy, who breathed life into a Langston Hughes short story set at sea and steamrolled into the top three, coming away with a prized half-qual for States. This was Joy's second tournament of her speech career, so she deserves serious recognition for placing against competition with years of experience on her. Her finish is a great sign of what may be to come.

...Ditto for the entire team. With the senior members of the Speech Team mainly sitting this tournament out, the young guns flexed some muscle and showed that they're ready to bring this program to the next level.

The second local tournament comes around in a few weeks and the stakes and possibilities will be even greater. If BP can continue to fill out it's teams, a lot more Final Round Judges may get a energizing introduction to some talented kids from the Bronx.

Flame on.