By: Ivan Perez Class of 2019 and Sierra Smith Class of 2020
Edited by: Shyonne Fraser Class of 2019
The Uncommon Charter High School Speech and Debate Team made tremendous strides at their most recent competition; taking third, fourth, fifth, and sixth in the Declamation portion of the competition and third place in Oral Interpretation. Even more exciting, several Sabers qualified for the state competition. For several hours on the fifth floor of Achievement First Brooklyn High School the Sabers chopped it down debating a wide variety of different topics decided by the National Speech & Debate Organization.
The Speech and Debate Team is in its second year of existence led by Ms. Nina Mauceri. “The largest improvement I’ve seen, and the most exciting part, is that team members have learned to coach each other,” said Ms. Mauceri. Speech and Debate has expanded from last year’s six members to now having almost forty members. With this increase in members the team has gained many opportunities in local and state competitions.
The first event, Declamation, consists of reciting a memorized speech in a new and exciting way. Deanna Nedd came in third place in the Declamation and qualified for states. Up next, was the Oral Interpretation where the squad had to orally interpret a previously published piece of literature in a theatrical manner. Sophomore Michaela Morrison placed third and is now half qualified for states. To add on, fellow class of 2021 members Shemar Blake placed fourth, Mikala Davis placed fifth, and Sumaje Houghton placed sixth.
Sumaje Houghton, class of 2021, earned an astounding 6th place at her recent competition with the Uncommon Speech Team. The debate team prepared for the competition by putting together ten minute long stories and poems. Sumaje practiced reading her passage at home and in her free time to guarantee that she had a smooth delivery. With the help of the rest of the Speech Team and Ms. Kitchens’ words of wisdom, “Picture whatever is making you nervous and punch it in the face!” she received feedback on her speech from her strong support system and place well in her first speech and debate competition.
When asked how she how she felt receiving an excellent score in her first competition Sumaje added she was, “hyped and ultimately shocked” by her success. She drew inspiration from the messages expressed in the timeless passage she performed and felt as if it brought awareness to issues, “in this generation.” Ms. Houghton wants to make her footprint on the world, even if it starts with a speech and debate competition.