New York City: April 23 may have been a normal Monday for most high school students, but for Catherine Schilling from Gulf Coast High School it will be a day to remember forever. Catherine, student of Joy Gorence, placed as a semifinalist at the 35th Annual National Shakespeare Competition on William Shakespeare's birthday while competing against 55 students from around the US on stage at the Mitzi Newhouse Theater in Lincoln Center as the culmination of a year-long competition hosted by the English-Speaking Union (ESU).
Prior to arriving in New York City for the competition, Catherine wrote:
Shakespeare is the epitome of the English language. I'm excited to meet my fellow enthusiasts and hopefully see a side of New York that I haven't seen before!
To qualify for the National Shakespeare Competition finals, Catherine won the regional ESU Naples Branch Shakespeare Competition on February 24, 2018.
Each year, more than 20,000 high school students participate in the English in Action National Shakespeare Competition at the school, regional and national levels through the help of more than 2,500 teachers and 55 ESU branches nationwide. As part of the competition, students perform a monologue and recite a sonnet from Shakespeare and are judged on their understanding of their selected texts and on their ability to communicate their interpretation to the audience. Through this school-based program, students in grades 9-12 develop critical thinking and speaking skills and increase their self-confidence through the performance of Shakespeare's work.
Since 1983, the English-Speaking Union has given more than 300,000 students of all backgrounds the opportunity to bring the timeless works of Shakespeare to life and to learn to express his words with understanding, feeling and clarity. The competition has been recognized by the Globe Center, the Children's Theatre Foundation of America and the American Academy of Achievement.
Jackson Dean from Palm Valley High School in Rancho Mirage, California was the winner of the 35th Annual English in Action National Shakespeare Competition and received a full scholarship to attend the Young Actor's Summer School at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
Eli Owens from Penfield High School in Penfield, New York placed second in the competition and received a scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Center Theater Camp in Staunton, Virginia.
Julia Talbot from Medford High School in Boston, Massachusetts placed third in the competition and received a cash prize of $500.
Joining the top winners in the final round of competition were Gabriela Furtado Coutinho from American Heritage School in Plantation, Florida; Christina Liberus from Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts in Queens, New York; Nicholas Moseley from The Bishop's School in La Jolla, California; Julian O'Byrne from Marin School of the Arts in Novato, California; Rohan Padmakumar from Lusher Charter School in New Orleans, Louisiana; Emily Trend from Princeton Day School in Princeton, NJ; and Samantha Vatalaro from Shaker High School in Latham, NY.
The ESU celebrates English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.
To find out more about our programs click here.