Last night at the Windsor Community Center, one of the champions from SA's speech team headed into the Lion's Club Youth Speaker Contest, in which a high school student prepares a ten-minute speech on a different topic each year. This year's topic was "Freedom of the Press: What does it mean?" To compete at the community level, Elannah had already won at the club level at the Lions Club of Montgomery Village. Her speech was a powerful contemplation of the different narratives (both liberal and conservative) that threaten to control media and obscure the truth. Elannah ended her speech with a personal statement in which she views the press as playing the role of a fourth power in our constitutional system of checks and balances.
While Elannah did not advance to the district level, there is much for her to be proud of. She has been a champion in the Golden Gate Speech Association, and she will be representing the Bay Area at the State Tournament this year at Long Beach in her event, which is Thematic Interpretation. In addition to her league competition, she has been adding community events such as this Lions Club competition. You might recall, last fall, Elannah also attended a Tellabration! event held at the Sebastopol Public Library, where she told a beautiful story of gratitude about the life of her beloved uncle.
This is the biggest group of qualifiers and alternates we have ever had. We attended the Qualifier Tournament for Speech held at James Logan High School with fifteen students, and eleven of those students broke to the final round, which means they were at the very least an alternate. Five of our students then made the top eight, thereby assuring themselves of one of the coveted bids for the State Championship Tournament, which will be held at CSU Long Beach on May 3-5. Elannah De La O '20 qualed with her Program in Oral Interpretation; Emma Hartley '20, with her Advocacy; Reece Stromberg '19, in National Extemporaneous; Veronica Aranda '21 and Ellie Ramos '21, with their Duo Interpretation.
This left Elliot Harrison-Lee '19, Jamie Potter '19, Anika McCarthy Belash '20, Christian Hernandez '20, Gavin Patchet '19, and Zoe Price '21 as alternates. With all the shifting that is taking place in the rankings as a result of double entries and preferences, some of these students may very well end up in Long Beach as well.
Sonoma Academy won the 2018-2019 Sweepstakes Award for Small Schools in Speech. This award was given to us for our performance throughout this year at the Golden Gate Speech Association League Tournaments. I am quite sure in saying that this award was due in large, large part to the incredible leadership by our team captains this year, Casey McKay '19 and Gavin Patchet '19. They led not only by example, remaining competitive all year at every tournament, but also with their dedication to their teammates. They made sure that practice was taken seriously, and that fun energy was always used for productive purposes.
This was a long day of judging for parents, including Leslie Harrison, Ted Patchet, and Renata Belash. But three faculty members also joined the judging crew: Michele Martin, Drew Gloger (along with daughter, Pam), and Colin McNamara, the students were extra energized by the presence of their teachers. They were very proud that their teachers got to see the high level of competition with Bay Area Schools that they go up against nearly every other weekend.
The only private, independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On its beautiful 34-acre campus nestled at the base of picturesque Taylor Mountain in South Santa Rosa, Sonoma Academy students are able to explore their interests and passions in a challenging environment that prepares them for college and life beyond.