There I was freshman year, whispering to my teammates and anxiously looking around the auditorium at Valdosta State University. The officials walked in carrying boxes. The entire room fell quiet. We knew what was in those boxes.
Over the next few minutes its contents were announced, winners from the days activities. I sat up straighter when I heard the words “dramatic interpretation” and nervously awaited the rankings.
Fourth place was called. Third place. Second place. First place. I blinked. Had she just said my name? I looked around to see my friends smiling and clapping. I was going to state and I couldn’t be more excited.
This was my first and favorite memory of Literary. High School Literary is a performing arts competition plus some. Local students who attend Georgia Independent Schools Association schools are competing at Augusta Preparatory Day School Tuesday.
Events include piano, singing, writing, public speaking, spelling, and acting, with each contest divided into different categories, students compete in the spring for the chance to go on to the state level. For those of you familiar with Science Olympiad, it’s the liberal arts counterpart.
Now that I’ve been involved for three years, I can attest to the benefits of the activity, academic and fun. People are usually surprised to find out that such activities are competitive and the lengths participants go to succeed.
Emily Ann Cowart, an 18-year-old senior at Lakeside High School, has competed in Literary for three years and explains the hard work required specifically to participate in Girls’ Trio.
“Getting three people together and rehearsing and perfecting a song ,usually in a different language, is complicated. But that's why it's so rewarding: to see immense effort produce a beautiful product.”
Most students normally compete in one or two events, typically after having auditioned for a spot on the school team. Some events require more work and practice. For events such as personal essay, no preparation is allowed. Participants are given a topic that asks them to write about a relevant personal experience in under two hours.
Literary Competition is so important because it gives students the chance to perform for an audience and to improve their skills through competition, even for commonly feared activities such as public speaking.
Through the Xtreme Teen Board I’ve learned that it’s a different experience to write outside of a classroom setting. When you’re writing for Literary, you are giving your work to someone who has nothing to judge you on but your ability as a writer. Unlike your English teacher, they don’t know your grades, they don’t know you, they just know what you write and how you write it. Makes you think about what you want to say, doesn’t it?
Whether you are interested in writing, singing, or spelling, Literary is an awesome way for performers and communicators to showcase and sharpen their talent in a different arena and I encourage anyone to give it a try. It strengthens skills that will be useful for all of your life and you never know what abilities you could uncover through trying something new.
Teen Board Member Mary Elizabeth Goodell is a junior at Westminster Schools of Augusta