Thursday, July 24, 2008

Speech Competition Results

Well, I'm feeling pretty good about my abilities as a speech coach. Two of my nine girls were selected as finalists in the big speech competition here in Gyeongju. Out of about a hundred kids who competed, only ten were chosen to go on to the next competition in Pohang. Oddly enough, the two kids of mine who made it to the next round are not the ones that I thought would do the best! They're great girls, but I was convinced that little Tracy (who is a child prodigy) and Jinny would be the two to beat. Life is full of surprises!

So, this week I have been coaching Wendy and Vicky, preparing them for the Pohang competition on Sunday. I won't get to hear the results until I get back from the Philippines, unfortunately. It's a pretty big deal now; the winner will get 500,000 won (about $500) and will go to Seoul. I think Vicky,who is only in first grade, may have a shot at it. Wendy, a second-grader, is adorable and talented, but her pronunciation is still a bit lacking. Still, she's the kind of kid that rises to a challenge, so she may surprise me.

Regardless of what happens, I am really proud of these two little girls! In fact, I'm proud of all nine girls that I coached. They worked really hard, and they are all fantastic kids. I wonder if their parents would let me keep two or three of them...

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"