Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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March 9, 2006

Blazer makes final round of Shakespeare Speech competition

by Merlyn Deng, Online Editor-in-Chief
Junior Maureen Raj competed in the final round of the Washington, D.C., area Shakespeare Speech competition against approximately 40 other high school students at D.C.'s Shakespeare Theatre, on Tuesday, March 6, according to Raj's coach, English teacher Kelly O'Connor.
Junior Maureen Raj was a finalist in the Washington, D.C. area Shakespeare Speech competition with a performance from "Macbeth" and a Shakespearean sonnet. Ariana McLean
Junior Maureen Raj was a finalist in the Washington, D.C. area Shakespeare Speech competition with a performance from "Macbeth" and a Shakespearean sonnet.

The D.C. area competition consisted of two rounds, according to O'Connor. The first round, which took place in the morning, eliminated 30 of the students, leaving the final top ten. Raj, who made the top ten, then went on to perform the sleepwalking scene from "Macbeth" as well as a Shakespearean sonnet that evening.

Although Raj did not win the D.C. competition and advance to the national level, O'Connor was pleased with the performance. "I thought she did extremely well," she said. "People were very complimentary of after she performed. She clearly impressed everyone."

O'Connor added that such competitions do not mean that winners' performances were superior. "It's very challenging to access objectively an arts competition," she said. "Getting the prize is not the end all be all."

Raj, who has only lived in the U.S. for a year, competed against seven other Blazers on Feb. 16 in the school round to advance to the D.C. round. "Maureen was amazingly strong," O'Connor said. All the students who had participated in school round delivered an un-coached, memorized speech selected from any Shakespeare play. After Raj was selected as the winner, O'Connor coached Raj for the D.C. round.

O'Connor said that Raj is "determined to compete again next year" and that she gained experience from the performance.

According to O'Connor, the winner of the D.C. round was Walt Whitman junior Christopher Carothers. Carothers will be going on to compete in New York for a trip to England.

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  • hmm? on March 9, 2006 at 4:33 PM
    if she was uncoached then why does she have a coach?
  • . on March 9, 2006 at 11:29 PM
    at first was uncoached, after she won she became coached. thats what i gathered from the story.
  • Re: hmm? on March 10, 2006 at 7:46 AM
    I believe she meant that when she competed in the Blair round, she had not been coached. Then, after she won, Ms. O'Connor started to train her for the regionals.
  • Blasphomous Bigot on March 10, 2006 at 8:51 AM
    Raj was great, its too bad she didnt make it.
  • ummm on March 15, 2006 at 1:44 PM
    ms o conners isnt a english teacher. she teaches drama... haha
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