It’s been more than a decade since Pace Academy students participated in the Georgia High School Association’s Literary Meet but, under the leadership of performing arts teacher Susan Wallace, the Knights – once a perennial powerhouse – are back.
The competition includes categories such as Dramatic Interpretation, Extemporaneous Speaking, Essay, Solo, Trio and Quartet. Students’ preparation, knowledge and technique influence their final scores, which in turn determine their rankings among competitors from across the state.
At the region meet on March 4, Pace students won four first-place prizes. Senior Cooper Drose took home the top prize in the Boys Solo category, while sophomore Avery Herman won first place in the Boys Essay category. The Girls Trio (sophomores Ellie Duncan and Willie Lieberman and junior Lexi Rubin) placed first, as did the Boys Quartet (seniors Dylan Abbott and Drose, and juniors Ryan Duvall and Jared Goldman). Senior Caillin Cooke placed second in the Girls Solo category, and senior Alyssa Calloway was third in the Girls Dramatic Interpretation category.
First-place finishers advanced to the state meet on March 14, and when all was said and done, four Pace students were crowned state champions. Herman's essay, On the Trial of Dzozkhar Tsarnaev, won the Boys Essay category, and the Girls Trio’s performances of Bizet’s Ouvre Ton Coeur and Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree arranged by Billingsly took the top prize as well.
The girls spent several weeks preparing for the competition. “We did a lot of work on the French song, Ouvre Ton Couer, because, as it turns out, French is an incredibly difficult language to speak and sing,” says Rubin.
Their hard work paid off. “I’m so proud of our team’s accomplishment of bringing Pace back on the Lit Meet map,” Lieberman says. “I can't wait to do it again next year!”