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.

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