Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bronx Prep Speech: Bigger and Better

11-13-2010 (Fordham Prep, Bronx NY)

The Bronx Prep Speech Team posted its first championship win of the season with a 1st place finish in Duo Interpretation by Team Captain Tiffany McLarty and her partner, Monica Lindsay. Also, Simone Johnson, a newcomer to the Speech Team, broke into Finals and won 4th Place in JV OI (Junior Varsity Prose/Poetry) - an impressive finish in a field of over 80 competitors. The Team also won 9th Place in the Team Sweepstakes award, which includes the scores of the team's top competitors and ranks the schools against one another for their overall finish in the tournament. This means that on Saturday, Bronx Prep was represented as a Top 10 Speech Team in New York City for the 2nd time this season.

In addition to the aforementioned accolades, BP Speech fans can celebrate the breadth of the squad representing Bronx Prep at Fordham. A whopping 17 entries squeezed into an uptown Bx15 bus to make the short trip up Third Avenue to the campus of Fordham University. The team smashed its previous record of 11 entries, set at the tournament three weeks earlier at Regis High School in Manhattan. This is big, exciting evidence that the Bronx Prep Performing Arts Academy is yielding big time results for more and more students every week.

Several team members were making their season debut and deserve their own shout-out. Congratulations to Clementina Nyarko, Rose Wirekoh and Melanie Nyarko who all broke into their seasons in big ways, posting first and second place finishes in their rounds of JV OI.

These newbies have a lot to aim for, as modeled by the members of the team who not only landed in finals, but finished high enough to earn the coveted prize at every speech tournament: a half-qualification for the New York State Championships. Tiffany and Monica (who was competing for the first time ever in Duo Interpretation) and Simone (in only her second career tournament) are now all one strong finish away from earning their spot at the State Championships in April.

They'll get their shot, along with the other top members of Bronx Prep's squad, this upcoming weekend at the prestigious Villiger Tournament, on the campus of St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. The competition will be much stronger, drawing top speakers from Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida, but the reloaded team of 10-11 will try to recapture the magic and glory of the 08-09 team that boasted not one, but two championships at this national-caliber tournament.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

BP Speech: Onwards and Upwards

October 23, 2010

The Bronx Prep Speech Team continued its growth with another successful local tournament over the weekend. Once again, team Manager Joy Akinfenwa led the way as she appeared in Finals for the second straight tournament. Simultaneously, this year's young guns each made their case to be crowned the new Rookie Sensation, with Dianeiris Vasquez staking the early claim, as she also reached the Final Round.

With a team of 11 entries, this was the biggest Bronx Prep squad to enter a local competition in several years. Many members of the young team were competing for their first time and deserve special recognition. These newbies are Samantha White, Dianeiris Vasquez, Paula Castillo, and Olivia Lettsome. Congratulations for putting in the hard work to prepare for your first tournament.

Of the Rookies, Dianeiris led the way - with impressive first place finishes in two of her first three rounds. Her scores put her in Finals, where she impressed the audience as well as the judges with her energy, spunk and comedic chops. She finished in a tie for 7th place - good enough for the coveted half-qualification for this year's State Championship.

In her own Final Round, Joy performed her free verse poem with precision and compassion. She stood on the stage at Regis High School for the second time in three weeks and once again finished at the top of the event - she paired her 3rd place finish from earlier in the month with a 4th place finish this time around and another half-qual for states.

Joy's two fantastic finishes deserve special note. She is now fully-qualled for the State Championships in April - the earliest a Bronx Prep student has qualified for the postseason in several years. Even more impressive, this is Joy's first year competing. She's learned the ropes very quickly, competing against young people with two or three years more experience and establishing herself as one of several students to beat in Varsity Oral Interpretation (Prose/Poetry) in the state of New York.

On the whole, the team enjoyed an extremely strong tournament. In addition to Dianeiris's two first place ranks, Paula, Jada, Olivia, and Jyeisha Reyes all posted first place finishes in a round of their own, while Emmanuel Cruz broke through with a 2nd and 3rd place finish. These are extremely encouraging results from a young team with limited experience, but loads of talent.

Next up for BP Speech is the home tournament - held at Fordham Prep just up the road - on November 13. Expect big things from this squad as the young guns will join the more experienced members of the team that were out of competition at Regis. Bronx Prep will be shooting for a Top Ten Team Sweepstakes finish as the group seeks to establish itself weekly as a top forensics program in New York City.