Friday, June 6, 2008


Kari Asmus, a member of the Dresden School Board, helped to judge this year's Lillian Bailey Recitation Contest. She writes:

Question: What do Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Huey Long, and Sojourner Truth have in common?

Answer: Each was brought to life for 135 seconds (or less) by a Hanover sophomore as part of the Bailey Recitation Contest.

Sixteen contestants were seated in the front rows of the auditorium, requisite suit jackets and dress skirts straightened. Soon the few signs of nervousness gave way to polished presentations spanning centuries of American history and a myriad of perspectives, ranging from privileged members of colonial society, to soldiers at war, to a hapless child in the Great Depression. As a judge said, through the recitations the students came to "embody the determination, courage and wisdom that so many Americans have shown in times of adversity and great challenge."

This year's contest winners were:
First Place — Camile Shafman, reciting Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?”
Second Place — Forrest Miller
Third Place — Aaron Watanabe
Honorable Mention - Carla Mertz

Every year after Memorial Day Hanover High School 10th graders have an opportunity to combine their knowledge of history with a knack for public presentation by participating in the Lillian Bailey Recitation Contest, an event inspired by a teacher who taught at HHS for 37 years. As part of a class assignment, all students prepare a recitation that dramatizes a chapter in American history. The material can be fiction or nonfiction, taken from a speech, a letter, an interview, a book or a play, but the selection must be memorized and must last no longer than two minutes and fifteen seconds. After recitations are given in front of classmates, finalists are chosen by the students to represent each class at the final contest.