SECONDARY SPEECH FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS TREMENDOUS TALENT, TEAMWORK
Tafuna High School campus took on a gala, festive atmosphere on Friday as the school hosted the Annual Secondary Speech Festival for the second year in a row. Taking top honors this year and for the third time since 2006, gaining the most overall “first place" honors, is Kanana Fou High School.
Hundreds of students from 12 high schools took part in five individual events and three group performances. Students carrying set pieces, those in makeup and costumes as well as large groups in gorgeous uniforms moved like clockwork on and off stages set up around the campus for the various events.
And above it all was the music — the beautiful, youthful voices filling the gymnasium in compelling choral recitations, choreographed to perfection. The audience returned appreciation for the uplifting performances in kind, with thunderous applause. Along the sidelines, food booths flourished — fundraisers for clubs and organizations.
In her welcome printed in the speech festival program, director designee, Dr. Jacinta Galea'i wrote, “Performing arts is one way to interpret great literature that mirrors and enrich our lives … They (students) not only discover their potential as actors but they bring to life the deep meanings hidden in poems and novels…”
Students in American Samoa have been experiencing “All the World's A Stage” (the festival's motto) since 1972 when 200 students participated in 11 categories. The festival has been taking place off and on (mostly on) since then, adding more schools as schools appeared on the scene and more students as our population burgeoned. This year the festival welcomed Pacific Horizons as the newest entry, with the private school competing in three categories.
This year's eight categories included: News Reading; Monologue; Oral Interpretation: Poetry; Plays; Original Speech; Oral Interpretation: Drama; Script Writing and Contemporary Choral Recitation.
One of the judges for Oral Interpretation: Drama said afterward, “The talent on display in that room was remarkable. Clearly, these students have been well coached, well rehearsed and well guided … they understood their material and presented it with a degree of maturity beyond their years. But truly, their raw talent for things such as comic timing, deep pathos and nuanced work was evident ... they certainly have performing arts in their future if they choose.”
Lentoy Matagi, principal of Tafuna High School told Samoa News, “This took great teamwork. The whole school ... teachers, staff, parents, students ... everyone worked hard to make this the success that it was.”
Speech festival organizers told Samoa News that the most memorable thing this year was the incredible talent, and reiterated the theme of teamwork .... how much work and dedication was displayed by all the participating schools. Students, teachers, staff and supporters — it takes everyone working together to bring off an event of this magnitude.
“This is so huge now, no organizing committee could do it alone, it takes the tremendous effort of all the schools, the administration, everyone,” an organizing committee member said.
The organizing committee sends out a special fa'afetai to Tafuna High for hosting again this year, to the private schools for organizing the food, to all who contributed to its success and congratulations to all the participants. “It was a beautiful, peaceful, on-schedule event.”
Winners of each of the eight events will be available later this week.