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.
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News And Events
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
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2021 Shakespeare Competition
On February 22, the Annual ESU Shakespeare Competition arrived in a whole new format, one which arrived in the inboxes of all members via email. For the first time ever, the Central Florida Branch of the ESU held a virtual competition that was open to students in the tri-county area, inviting participants from Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties. Also new this year was the For the Love of the Bard Award. This award will be given annually to a student who exhibits determination, grit, fortitude, and a true passion for Shakespeare's works. This year's inaugural recipient is Kristina M. Williams of Avalon Private School. The second award that is new to the competition this year is 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 2021 recipient of the Richard Burbage Award is long-standing sponsor Robert Carr. Both award winners will receive a check for $100.00.
Our Third Place contestant for the 2021 Shakespeare competition is Jalise Martinez of Poinciana High School. Her faculty sponsor is James Thompson. In Second Place is Eislinn Gracen. Supported by her teacher sponsor, Sarah Porter, Eislinn represents West Orange High School. Advancing to the National round of competition is First Place winner, Christian Walker, for his portrayal of Hamlet. Lisa Hines of The Geneva School is Christian's faculty sponsor. First, Second, and Third Place rankings were awarded $1,000.00, $500.00, and $250.00 respectively.
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ESU Happy Hour Series
Welcome to ESU Happy Hour! The ESU has planned a series of programs to connect and reach out to our members through programs that are engaging, fun, and informative on a wide variety of topics. Happy Hour programs bring to you guest speakers live and free of charge. Speakers may also suggest a unique cocktail for you to create and enjoy at home. These programs are designed so ESU members and guests can learn and interact with our outstanding speakers. Many speakers will provide exciting participation opportunities with fun give away books and products at the end of each program.
Read the full story for a complete listing of the first six speakers in the program!
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2020 Shakespeare Competition
Our Central Florida winners from left to right: Nicolas Evans (Second Place), Marcela Griebler (First Place), Oscar Murguia (Third Place)
On February 24, twenty-one 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, an additional prize to cover the cost of travel to New York City for the National competition, and a scholarship to Orlando Shakes' The Young Company, which is valued at $250.00. This year's contenders made for difficult judging decisions. On the panel of judges this year were Anne Hering: Director of Education at The Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Donna Miller; former Program Coordinator for Orange County's Language Arts, and Dr. Maurice "Socky" O'Sullivan: Professor at Rollins College. Marcela Griebler from Freedom High School took First Place with her portrayal of Desdemona from Othello and sonnet 24 under the direction of her teacher, Mrs. Angela Xan Kahn. Second Place went to Nicolas Evans from Lake Mary High School. Nicolas was coached by his teacher, Ms. Becca Southworth, on his depiction of Proteus from The Two Gentlemen of Verona and sonnet 86. In Third Place was Oscar Murguia who was trained by his teacher, Ms. Noelle Monroe, at Colonial School. Oscar performed his interpretation of Shylock from The Merchant of Venice along with sonnet 64. We wish Marcela Griebler the best of luck as she competes in the national competition this April.
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2020 Drey Scholars Introduced at Scholars’ Reception
From Left to Right: Reta Jackson, Matthew Nash-Brown, Kristopher Khan, Gerry Precil, Lizzy Brannan, Jessica Furiosi, and Barbara Hughes.
On Sunday afternoon, February 2nd, the Scholarship Committee honored the newly selected Drey Scholars. Gisela Davis presented each new scholar with a year's membership in our branch and a badge so that members can recognize and greet them. Barbara Hughes, ESU Branch President, presented Certificates to the scholars and Reta Jackson gave each an initial check for $2,000 to pay for travel expenses and books for the programs chosen. We are so proud to have these educators travel to the United Kingdom this summer as our ambassadors.
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