Thursday, March 17, 2011

Half the Team Breaks at Villiger!

Success at St. Joe's

By Jackie Martinez

A whopping twelve people went on their second away tournament of the season, competing at the Villiger Invitational at St. Joseph's University. The first speech competition was at Yale University in Connecticut; returnees included Sahirah Johnson, Norberto Troncoso, Emmanuel Cruz, Joy Akinfenwa, Monica Lindsey, Tiffany McLarty, Oliver Askia, Marissa Charlemagne, Jyeisha Reyes and Jackie Martinez. These ten veterans brought along two very promising and committed newbies: Dianeiris Vasquez and Simone Johnson. Chaperoning the squad was Bronx Prep Speech coach, Andrew Simon and Justine.

Although this time, we had a 15-passenger van instead of the 12-passenger we had during our Yale tournament last late September it still seemed close and tight-knit which is just a wonderful representation of how the team is growing and prospering. For about 3 hours, we joked, reminisced, brought the family-feel back between us all and most of us slept; anticipating the long night that was to come for us.

As we practiced and polished our pieces for this tournament the few weeks prior -- we were feeling confident and ready to take action at the Villiger Tournament on St. Joseph's beautiful campus in West Pennsylvania. We arrived slightly late, due to some miscommunication but arrived to work nonetheless.

The head speech captains, Tiffany and Monica dropped in to the tournament a little bit earlier than the rest of us to sign us all up and make sure that everything was prepared for us to compete. Success in this tournament was very difficult to come by, but with members of the team entered in varied brackets, we cut it down short which led to great achievements.

Oliver Askia, competing in Original Oratory at his third tournament of the season, broke to the next round, because of the exceptional scores he had received in each of his rounds. This was his first break in this specific category throughout his years of being active in speech.

The Johnson sisters also broke into the Quarterfinals; Simone in Oral Interpretation (Prose/Poetry) and Sahirah in Dramatic Performance -- A long-awaited success for her and this piece which she has been working on since Speech Boot Camp held in August before classes had begun.

Dianeiris Vasquez also broke at her second tournament in a row in the category of Oral Interpretation. Her appearance in the Semifinals was a huge achievement for Dianeiris considering she is only a freshman, competing in speech for the first time.

The duo team consisting of Tiffany and Monica with their piece titled “The Bubbly Blackgirl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin” broke all the way to Finals where they won first place for the second time in a row-- this being the second time they have ever performed it in a tournament which just goes to show that the hard work that these students put into their pieces and the commitment they put into making it unique -- it shows with bright colors and very large trophies!

In the end, after we left the awards ceremony and played a few rounds of “Big Booty” with some speech participants from another school, and took group pictures, we brought home two trophies and determination for the next tournament we will face at George Mason University.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Big-time Joy at GMU

BP Students Shine at a Classic in December

By Norberto Troncoso

The Bronx Prep Speech Team ended their 2010 competing year with a big finish at a national tournament - the Patriot Games Classic, hosted by George Mason University. Joy Akinfenwa led dozen-strong BP squad with a spectacular 6th place finish in Poetry and a quarterfinal finish in Prose. Sahirah Johnson and Clementina Nyarko also finished big by reaching the quarterfinals in Dramatic Interpretation and Impromptu, respectively.

Joy Akinefenwa, a rookie in her first year competing in forensics entered in four categories for the tournament: Poetry, Prose, Drama, and Impromptu. She worked rigorously to reach the Quarterfinals of two events - known as "double-breaking". She worked hard even as her voice dwindled away, advancing to the Semifinals in Poetry. With the whole team cheering her onl, Joy progressed to the Final round - putting her in the final six of a competition that began with over 100 hundred competitors from all over the nation and marking her as a top notch competitor at the Patriot Games. Her finish also qualified her for the New York State Championships in Oral Interpretation, where she will no doubt be a force to be reckoned with.

Sahirah Johnson, a one-year veteran competitor of the speech team, made a big debut last year when she qualified for states after joining the team in December. She was in good form at one of the biggest tournaments of the year, portraying Billie Holiday, while mentoring students in the Bronx Prep Academy. Sahirah competed in Prose, Poetry and Drama for the tournament and showed great progress. She broke into the Quarterfinals and also earned her qualification for the State Championships.

Clementina Nyarko, a new addition to the team, was competing at GMU in her first away tournament and had a great finish. She was triple-entered, but mainly focused on her Impromptu entry and managed to break at a national tournament - an acknowledgable feat for any rookie on the team.

After a long, exhausting tournament with the whole squad competing in an average of 11 rounds on the weekend, the team went back to the hotel for a homemade Mexican feast. They prepared make-your-own tacos and quesadillas in the hotel rooms and had time to bond and grow together as a family - a relaxed and wonderful finish to an intense and successful tournament.

Recognition is also due to first-time competitors Oliva Lettsome and Omar Ortiz, who also competed in their first away tournament.

With a squad of over 20 students regularly competing locally, the team prepares for a 2011 like never before.