“How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?” Silence fell in the room as a boy dramatically read a scene from George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. He held up four fingers to elevate the tension in the room. As he moved along the lines, his voice changed from the low and demanding voice of O’ Brien to the agitated and pained voice of Winston. “Four! Four! What else can I say? Four!” he screamed. This was the final round of HAFS Interpretative Reading Contest, one of four categories in HAFS English Speaking Contest, which the school holds every year. Students other than the participants were also invited to watch the final round, and around a ten or so attended to cheer on their friends and admire the captivating readings the finalists prepared. The contest this year, like any other year, was filled with competent readers and diverse selections. Watching the performance, the audience was able to rethink their definition of crazy, recollect their childhood memories, and even hear a Southern accent.
Annually, HAFS arranges competitions of various topics from Computer Algorithm to Korean Creative Literature for students. One of the most prestigious school competitions, HAFS Academic Contests provides students with an opportunity to display their talents in diverse fields and win awards. For the HAFS English Speaking Contest, there was a limited space for participants so students were required to register online through a Google Doc beforehand. The spots for some categories were full as soon as the registration started, again affirming the popularity of the contest. This year’s HAFS Academic Contests were held on June 10th.
HAFS English Speaking Contest is organized for the following four categories: Interpretive Reading, Duo Interpretive Reading, Impromptu Speaking, and Original Oratory. As Mr. Moberg, who coordinates the contest, stated, its main goal is to allow students to have fun while making use of English and public speaking skills. It also aims to build HAFS community, bringing together talented students from different class, grade, and major. This year was the fourth year the competition was held. The rules are similar to the ones from the 1st English Speaking Contest, except that the category Duo Interpretive Reading was added two years ago. The competition this year had stricter rules on dropping out, requiring students who register to compete, decreasing the number of students who decide not to participate at the last moment. Mr. Moberg expressed his regret at not being able to judge the contest because of International History Bee & Bowl, and offered his compliments to this year’s participants: “Congratulations to all of you and I hope you enjoyed the event! I know from talking to other teachers that the judges were very impressed with your speeches.”
The results of the competition were soon after announced on HAFS website and the bulletin board. While only a limited number of students received the awards, both participants and the audience were able to enjoy seeing and hearing arresting performances and speeches. For the Interpretive Reading especially, it was impressive to see Trunchabll from Roald Dahl’s Matilda, Scrooge from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, Hop-Frog from Edgar Allan Poe’s Hop-Frog, and many other characters all acted out in one room.
BY Jiin Jeong’17