ESU Central Florida Branch
Welcome greeting from Barbara W. Hughes, President...
Welcome to the home page of the Central Florida Branch of the English- Speaking Union. Many times, I have been asked, "What is the English- Speaking Union and what is its purpose?" The English- Speaking Union is a non-profit, non-political educational organization with the mission to celebrate English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.
The organization was launched in England in 1918 on the initiative of journalist Evelyn Wrench and sixteen friends with the aim of promoting closer ties between English speaking peoples from around the world. In 1920 the ESU won the support of President Woodrow Wilson, and in 1921 the English-Speaking Union was formed with William Howard Taft as its first President. Presently there are sixty-five branches within the United States and branches in more than fifty countries around the world.
Read Full Message
News And Events
Shakespeare Competition 2022 Results
On February 21, sixteen students from the tri-county area arrived at Orlando Shakes to participate in The English-Speaking Union's annual Shakespeare competition. Contestants were vying for the opportunity to win $1,000.00, and a chance to represent the Central Florida Branch of the ESU in this year's National hybrid format.
The semi-finals, as in 2020 and 2021, will remain virtual via a recorded performance from our branch champion. However, the national finals will be held during a live competition in New York City on the weekend of April 23-26, 2022. Only the top 10 finalists will travel to New York City for an exclusive and fun-filled weekend. On the panel of judges this year, deciding who would represent our branch, were Anne Hering: Director of Education at Orlando Shakes, Donna Miller: former Program Coordinator for Orange County's Language Arts, and Dr. Maurice "Socky" O'Sullivan: Professor Emeritus at Rollins College.
Left to right: Raina Grabowski, Kaylin Aguirre, and Laila Mahler
Raina Grabowski from University High School took First Place in the Shakespeare competition with her portrayal of Juliet from Romeo and Juliet and Sonnet 46 under the direction of her teacher, Mr. Keith Traver. Second Place went to Kaylin Aguirre from Freedom High School. Kaylin was coached by her teacher, Mrs. Angela Kahn, on her depiction of Julia from The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Sonnet 12. In Third Place was Laila Mahler who was trained by her teacher, Ms. Susan Lilley, at Trinity Preparatory School.
Ms. Susan Lilley was also the recipient of the Richard Burbage Award. Named after one of the most famous actors at The Globe Theatre, this award celebrates the work and dedication of teacher sponsors who have managed year after year to keep their students engaged, their involvement in our competition ongoing, and our audiences enriched. The final award of the day was The Love of the Bard Award. This award requires a teacher nomination and is an award given annually to one student who, "Exhibits determination, grit, fortitude, and a true passion for Shakespeare's works." Kaylin Aguirre from Freedom High School was the recipient of this $100.00 award.
We wish Raina Grabowski the best of luck as she advances to perform in the national competition this March.
Left to right: Ginger Bryant, VP Shakespeare Competition; Raina Grabowski, 2022 Shakespeare Competition First Place Winner; Barbara Hughes, Central Florida ESU President.
Read Full Story
Save The Date!
Please join us on Monday, February 21, for the annual English-Speaking Union's Shakespeare Competition. This year we are returning to a live format for competition with events beginning promptly at 4:00 p.m. Our venue for the event is Orlando Shakes, and we will be complying with their COVID protocol. Face masks are required for all of those who enter the building, regardless of vaccination status.
This year, 20 competitors will present their memorized monologues and sonnets as they compete for an opportunity to represent the Central Florida ESU Branch in New York. For 2022, the National Competition in New York will be held in a hybrid format. The semi-finals, as in 2020 and 2021, will remain virtual via recorded performance from our branch champions. However, the national finals will be held during a live competition in New York City on the weekend of April 23-26, 2022. Only the top 10 finalists will travel to New York City for an exclusive and fun-filled weekend.
The Central Florida ESU panel of judges for this year will be Anne Hering: Director of Education at Orlando Shakes, Donna Miller: former Program Coordinator for Orange County's Language Arts, and Dr. Maurice "Socky" O'Sullivan: former Professor at Rollins College. Come rank your personal favorites and see how your votes compare with the judges' deliberation. Refreshments will be served in the lovely outdoor Darden Courtyard on the property, under an air-conditioned tent. We wish our 20 contestants from three counties the best of luck!
- Ginger Bryant, VP Shakespeare Competition
Read Full Story
Winter Dinner Highlights
On January 24, 2022, Central Florida ESU members met to dine and dance the night away with the delightful tunes of The Buzzcatz, Ricky Sylvia, and a five-piece band as their soundtrack.
"It was one of the best ESU dinners ever!" says Barbara Hughes, Branch President, while recalling the evening of delightful food, company, and entertainment!
UCF scholars, Devin Johnson and Daniel Edelen, were our honored guests. As our first Jessie Drey UCF Scholarship recipients, they represent yet another way that the Central Florida ESU is supporting passionate educators!
(left to right) Daniel Edelen, Jessie Drey UCF Scholarship Recipient; Curtis Proctor, UCF Director of Advancement College of Community Innovation and Education; Barbara Hughes, ESU Branch President; Devin Johnson, Jessie Drey UCF Scholarship Recipient; Socky O'Sullivan, ESU Branch Executive Vice President.
Read Full Story
Central Florida ESU Gives Away $100,000 in Scholarships to Celebrate 100 Years of Service!
(Left to Right): Malcolm Butler (School of Teacher Education Professor and School Director), Curtis Proctor (School of Teacher Education Director of Advancement), Pamela "Sissi" Carroll (UCF Dean of the College of Community Innovation and Education), Barbara Hughes (Central Florida E-SU President), Reta Jackson (Central FL. E-SU Scholarships Committee Chair), Jan McClure (Central FL. E-SU Education Committee Chair), Brett Carrier (Central FL. E-SU Communications Chair)
Orlando, Florida - September, 2021- During this unprecedented time, when CNBC reported that one in four teachers considered quitting at the start of the school year, the Central Florida Branch of the English-Speaking Union has donated $100,000 to the UCF College of Community Innovation and Education. To honor both founding member Jessie Drey and The Centennial of the English-Speaking Union of the United States, 1920-2020, the Central Florida Branch is establishing The Central Florida English-Speaking Union Jessie Drey Memorial Scholarship program to support and encourage practicing Central Florida educators to remain in the profession as they pursue graduate studies at the University of Central Florida.
Read Full Story
As we all face a situation unlike any other in our generation, one thing has been proven without a doubt: we must stay connected and actively engaged with the topics and activities that we love. Here at the Central Florida English-Speaking Union, we are attempting to provide our members with the brain stimulation to delight you through monotonously masked days! Why not take a didactic journey through the south discussing its architecture or listen to our upcoming speaker, Jan Clanton, discuss the scandal behind the well-known portrait of Madame X and the man who painted it? All of this is available from the comfort of your home through the beauty of technology.
Both National and local Central Florida English-Speaking Union previously recorded lectures are available through the links below:
Click Here for the National E-SU Online Happy Hour Series
Click Here for the Central Florida Branch Online Series
Read Full Story