Saturday, December 05, 2009

Five Forever

The Historical Society performances last night went well, despite my late realization that Historical Society = old people = people likely to be offended by performance of Reduced Shakespeare Co.'s "Complete Bible". The two boys doing that piece and I did a quick rewrite of most of the sex jokes, and they remarkably pulled off all of the changes without rehearsing them first. And we weren't chased out of the building with pitchforks, so yay.

Actually, it went really well. The woman who had first contacted me about it explained that they have all been reading about the speech team for years in the local paper, but had no idea what it actually did. In the shuffle of all of the kids I went through to get enough to show up to this thing, I wound up with one of each of the scripted events we do - duet, poetry, humor, drama, and original oratory. The kids did well (although not their best), and the audience was kind and receptive.

I drove home and collapsed in bed at 10 to wake up at 5 for the meet today. This meet small, but fun. They had an unusual feature - the pentathalon.

A bit of background - at tournament meets (those hosted by/for large schools), the students compete in one event for three rounds, plus finals. At festival meets, the students can do two events - one in the morning and one in the afternoon, each with three rounds but no finals.

Today's school is a tournament one, so most kids did one event. Students had the option, though, of of competing in five events simultaneously. They would run from event to event during the rounds. It also means having five pieces prepared to compete with.

Last year, when MTHS went to this meet for the first time, Ruth didn't let the kids do the pentathalon. I'm not sure why, but I heard it was because she worried about them being distracted and doing worse on their specialties.

I took a different approach, figuring that it would be a good exercise for the kids who wanted a challenge (I'm still not good at this whole perform-to-compete/winning-is-everything thing). So, 8 of the 24 kids who went today from my school were pentatheletes.

And we rocked it! We placed in every category we competed in, swept one category completely (meaning, all six finalists were from my school, something that hadn't happened before), won the pentathalon, got four Best of Events, and took first place overall with more than twice as many points as the second place school.

Not to brag, or anything.

Me, I spent the day dealing with typical student-issues, grading essays, and judging two rounds of Public Forum Debate and the finals round for Extemp. The PF debates gave me a headache. The topic right now is about merit-based pay for teachers, which is a tricky topic to be a good, fair, neutral judge on. It took more mental stretching than usual to make sure my evaluations were based on what was stated. Plus, I had to listen to team after team after team after team debate the same issue, making the same points. I don't like judging debate.

I'm happy for my kids - I'm glad they did well and are feeling good about themselves right now. I'm also tired, and I'm going to bed.

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