When writers, speakers, singers and actors come together from all over the region, a most intense competition ensues. Students who specialize in literary and fine arts have the opportunity to compete in a little-known event called a Literary Meet.
On Mar. 6, two chaperones and 12 high school students traveled to Brookstone School to compete for a spot in the state championship. Chorus Director Brad Meyer and English teacher Dawson Zimmerman coached the literary meet team. According to Meyer, “Schools gain points based on first, second or third place. Whichever school has the most points, as well as the top two individuals in each event, will win and advance to the state competition.”
Events in the region and state Literary Meets include a variety of literary and fine arts performances. Sophomores Lindsey Mains and Donovan Simmons and freshman Maggie Simmons kicked off the essay-writing competition. For two hours, they answered argumentative, personal and rhetorical prompts, respectively. After the time was called and the pens were put down, a judge read and graded their submissions. Donovan Simmons and Maggie Simmons each placed runner-up in their respective categories, and Mains won first place in the argumentative essay category and advanced to state.
While the writers were busy competing on paper, freshman Siobhan Davenport and senior Grayson Ragsdale performed in the extemporaneous speaking event. All the competitors were given a domestic or international problem and 30 minutes to research and prepare a speech. In front of a panel of judges, both girls successfully presented their argument; Davenport landed second place in domestic affairs, and Ragsdale placed first in international.
In addition to literary events, many students competed in fine arts-centered pieces. Sophomore actor Tyler Sturtevant performed a dramatic oral presentation, placing second in the region meet. Freshman Constance Harris presented a comedic oral presentation and landed second place for her performance.
As for the singing portion of the Literary Meet, Wesleyan chorus members performed in multiple events including girls trio, boys quartet, girls solo and boys solo. Freshmen Ally Jones, Siobhan Davenport and Constance Harris sang in front of an audience of fellow students, coaches and parents, placing third overall.
Fourth year Literary Meet participant Leandro Haddad said, “I am very excited to have the chance to possibly win the State Championship for a second time in the quartet, and it’s a really great time because we get to compete against some of our friends from other schools.” Haddad, along with freshman Gian Luca Di Lenardo and sophomores Adam Rogers and Sturtevant, competed as a quartet, finishing in first place.
Lastly, Jones and Haddad both earned first place titles in their solo competitions and will advance to the state meet. Jones said, “I was psyched when I found out I was going to state for solo and trio. I feel like my solo went pretty well, but I can’t wait to get to work on it again and make it even better. I know that there will be some tough competition at the state meet, but I love a good challenge. I’m excited to see how we can do even better and hopefully pull a few wins at the state meet.”
For student and teacher team members alike, the Literary Meet is more than just another competition. Meyer said, “My favorite part is getting to work with students one-on-one outside of the larger ensemble. It is fun to hang out with a small group of students and see them get excited about a new event.” The team proudly placed second overall among tough competition.
On Mar. 17, numerous students advanced to the state meet at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga. They once again performed in fine arts and literary events in pursuit of state championship titles. Among the top competitors were Mains, who placed third in the argumentative essay competition, and the boys quartet, who won state runner-up medals for their performance. Overall, the 2018 literary meet team represented Wesleyan well with their hard work and dedication throughout both the region and state rounds.