Poetic success at COLT language competition

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Junior Tatiana Liberman poses with her COLT Language Competition certificate and medal. Courtesy of Tatiana Liberman ’17

Eighteen Convent of the Sacred Heart Upper School students and four Middle School students participated in the Connecticut Council of Language Teachers (COLT) foreign language poetry recitation competition, Wednesday, April 6 at East Haven High School in East Haven, Connecticut.

Sacred Heart students in Arabic, Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish competed in the event. In preparation for the competition, every Upper School student taking a foreign language course memorized and recited a poem in front of their class in January. Each student, her classmates, and her teacher voted for the finalist in each class. The finalist then presented the poem in front of the language department at Sacred Heart and they chose the best reciter in each level who went on to represent Sacred Heart at the COLT foreign language poetry recitation competition.

Junior Lindsay Ofori holds her COLT Language Competition certificate. Maddie Squire '18
Junior Lindsay Ofori holds her COLT Language Competition certificate.
Maddie Squire ’18

Prior to the the competition, contestants tirelessly rehearsed and met with their language teachers to assure that they perfected their recitation, tones, interpretation, and expression. 
“Chinese is a very expressive language, therefore it was crucial that I practiced my tones for each word in the poem. In regards to Spanish, the poem is a love story, therefore I had to practice my interpretation and the manner in which I needed to present the sensitive themed poem,” sophomore Chinese III Honors and Spanish IV Honors student Rachel Bellissimo said.
Judges scored the contestants on their memorization, diction, interpretation, and body language. Each participant’s grade was based on a point system. In order to receive a medal and certificate, contestants needed to earn a total of 28 to 40 points.
Upper School freshman Isabel Davenport in French, sophomore Jacqueline Koletas in French, and junior Lindsay Ofori in French and Arabic each placed first and received gold medals at the competition yesterday. The judges awarded junior Anna-Luisa Brakman in Arabic, senior Alessandra Nocco in Spanish, freshman Ludnie Rene in Spanish, and senior Katherine Siciliano in Chinese second place with silver medals. Sophomore Rachel Bellissimo in Spanish and Chinese and junior Tatiana Lieberman in Chinese collected bronze medals for placing third.
Middle School Students Chiara Schmidt in Chinese and Elizabeth Yeager in Chinese won first place, and Lianna Amoruso in Spanish and Amelia Hervey in French earned third place.
The contest gave each participant the opportunity to meet and listen to many different students of different backgrounds, learn more about different cultures, and learn to interpret the language through expression.
I enjoyed applying my memorization and speaking skills for both Chinese and Spanish,” Rachel said. “It is really a great opportunity to practice my oral communication in these languages. In the classroom daily, we are exposed to a lot of reading and writing, but now this is a unique opportunity to use the other skill sets of listening and speaking.”
-Maddie Squire, Staff Writer