The 28th annual Spanish Declamation Contest “Gustavo A. Bécquer” took place at Harker March 24 at the Nichols Hall auditorium. Spanish students in levels I-V as well as native speakers from 14 public and private middle and high schools were in attendance. The students needed to memorize and recite a poem by a well-known Spanish-speaking author. Contestants were judged on their poise, memorization, delivery, pronunciation and diction by current and retired Spanish teachers from other schools, in addition to guest judge Rosario Vital, the editor of the Spanish language newspaper “El Observador.” Vital was also covering the contest for the newspaper.
Harker Spanish students won as the top school overall. In Spanish I, freshmen Rahul Nalamasu and Rohan Chandra respectively took first and second. Cole Manaster, Gr. 10, took first place in Spanish II, while Roshan Daran, Gr. 9, earned third place. Sumit Minocha, Gr. 9, took second place in the Spanish III category. Sophomores Kristen Herr and Priyanka Mody won first and second place, respectively, in Spanish 4, while senior Rashmi Sharma tied for first place in Spanish V.
Of particular note, native speaker Karan Das-Grande, Gr. 9, presented a poem titled “En mis sueños,” that he wrote himself. The students were coached by Spanish teachers Isabel García, Diana Moss, Abel Olivas and Daniela Rozanes.
Masters of ceremony were Olivia Zhu, Gr. 11 and Nathaniel Edwards, Gr. 12. Entertainment at the event was provided by junior Nikhil Parthasarathy, who played flamenco guitar at the beginning of the program, and a Ballet Folklórico group from Prospect High School, who danced prior to the event on the Nichols Hall patio. While students presented their poems, a PowerPoint presentation with imagery and lines in English from each poem was displayed to help non-Spanish-speaking students understand what was being said. After the contest, Constance Richardson, foreign language department chair at the Castilleja School, wrote to say, “The organization was seamless, the atmosphere was so welcoming and the efficiency was impressive. Kudos to you!”