Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 23 Mar 2019 12am







    Friday, March 22, 2019-3:55:36A.M.






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NMI students collect trophies, plaques in national speech and debate competitions

TWO CNMI students finished in the Top 5 while three made it to the Top 15 at the recently held National Speech and Debate Association competitions in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

In the junior division, Elaine Fernandez and Jonathan Wolf made it to the knockout or breaking rounds.

Fernandez reached the finals and finished fifth in Story Telling. Wolf, who competed in Humorous Interpretation, also finished fifth. Vladimir Palma, who competed in Dramatic Interpretation, made it to the semifinals and finished eighth.

The other quarterfinalists or those who made it to the Top 25 were:

Jonathan and Lars Wolf – Duo Interpretation

Jonathan Wolf – Poetry Reading

Vladimir Palma also landed in the Top 30 in Prose Reading.

In the senior division, Kate Ishida and Elizabeth Rose Jones made it to the breaking rounds.

Out of the 420 students who competed in Poetry Reading, Ishida finished 12th or the top 7 percent.

Jones, who competed with 285 students in Expository Speech, made it to the quarterfinals and finished 15th.

The other CNMI team members who made it to the breaking rounds:

Impromptu Speech - Shea Hartig (top 17 percent); Elijah Joshua Pajarillaga (top 40 percent)

Prose Reading - Su Min Melody Woo (top 36 percent) Elizabeth Rose Jones (top 60 percent); Esther Park (top 60 percent);

Poetry Reading - Shea Hartig (top 38 percent); Nina Valdisimo (top 60 percent); Jell Melchor (top 60 percent);

Story Telling - Nina Valdisimo (top 40 percent); Jeremiah Fernandez (top 40 percent)

Shea Hartig also came close to the breaking rounds with an excellent run in the Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Western Pacific Region Director Harold Easton said.

“The CNMI teams did an exceptional job, rising to high levels in the competition with a huge number of competitors,” Easton added.

In an email to Variety, brothers Jonathan and Lars Wolf thanked Easton for helping them prepare for the national competition.

“He ran our [regional] competition like the national competition.  The regional competition prepared me for rigorous round after round, and those rounds determined who moved on to the Top 24, then the semis and finals,” Lars said.

A first-time participant at the national competition, Lars said it was tough. “Our CNMI team was prepared, and we all practiced and did our best.”

He added he will share his experiences with his fellow students to help them better prepare when the next local competition is held.

Jonathan Wolf has been competing in the junior division of the nationals for three years now.

 “As I say goodbye to middle school, I am grateful and humbled that I was always able to bring home trophies and plaques for our islands. It may be something small, but I am proud of it because I was able to bring happiness to our islands and to those who have supported me,” he said.

“High school is a different level of difficulty, and I pray that I will make it as far as I did in middle school.  I thank Mr. Easton, the Public School System and the federal program for continuing this program which enhances our public speaking abilities,” he added.

Aside from the competition, the CNMI students took advantage of educational and social opportunities while in Florida, Easton said.

“As time allowed, they visited sites to learn about  ecological issues and the space-age technology Florida is known for. They also made contact with colleges and universities that reach out to speech and debate students and met and socialized with students from around the nation and around the world.”

Click to enlarge
CNMI NSDA senior team.  Contributed photos

The CNMI junior team members are: Patreisha Concillado (FMS), Elaine Fernandez (FMS), Dane Hodges (SIS), Cevina Huang (SIS), Juliet Inocencio (DMS), Vivien Liu (HMS), Jill Mallari (MCS), Vladimir and Edgardo Palma (HMS), Christian Pamintuan (GMS), Oceana and Issa Teigita (DMS), Lars Wolf (DMS), and Jonathan Wolf (DMS).

The junior team was coached by Criselda Aldan (MCS), Cary Bertoncini (SIS), Lorelisa Espiritu (GMS), Maria Mettao (FMS), Victoria Nishida (HMS), and Kristine Wolf (DMS).

The senior team members are Jeremiah and Neamiah Fernandez (SSHS), Shea Hartig (SIS), Kate Ishida (MHS), Elizabeth Rose Jones (KHS), Jeff Melchor (MCS), Esther Park (MHS), Elijah Joshua Pajarillaga (GCA), Emma Timmons (MHS), Nina Valdisimo (KHS), Lanz Jabez Victoria (GCA), Kelvin Wolf (MHS), Su Min (Melody) Woo (GCA), and Joseph Zhang (MHS).

Their coaches were Frank Borja (SSHS), Grace Duran (GCA,) Joyl Jones (KHS), and Dencio Manglona (MHS).