A very young Briarwood Academy literary team captured first place overall in the GISA Region 1-A Literary meet Monday at East Georgia College in Swainsboro. Briarwood's five first place and four second place finishers advance to Class A state competition next Wednesday, March 18, at Valdosta State College in Valdosta.
Traditionally a strong competitor in GISA literary competition, the Briarwood Academy literary team qualified to send competitors to compete in nine of the 13 literary categories in state competition.
Additionally, team members took two third place finishes in region competition. Only first and second places advance to state competition; third and fourth places earn points toward the overall region title.
"Once again, our students represented Briarwood very well, as evidence by their many first and second place finishes," non-music coach Bob Warren said. "No one can imagine how many hours were dedicated to preparing to compete that day. My congratulations to all of them.
"Our numbers alone will increase our chances in state (literary) competition," Warren added. "We hope to make Briarwood proud."
In non-music competition, the Briarwood team took two first place finishes. Junior Adam Hardy placed first in International Extemporaneous Speaking, while sophomore Sierra Havrilla placed first in Humorous Oral Interpretation.
Three Briarwood students advanced to state competition with second place finishes. Senior Sarah Nutial placed second in Personal Essay; junior Eric Johnson placed second in Boys' Argumentative Essay; and sophomore Emily Henderson placed second in Girls' Argumentative Essay.
"I was very, very pleased with our music results. They worked hard," music coach Kari Callaway said. "We had a number of students competing for the first time, and I was very proud of their performances."
Both the girls' Trio and boys' Quartet captured first place in Region 1A competition.
A very young girls Trio, composed of sophomore Mary Ashley Gibson, freshman Shannon Newsome, and freshman Taylor Rabun, took first place, performing the Dixie Belles' Wedding Chapel and And Nature Smiled by Koepke.
"They were great," Mrs. Callaway said. "To be so young and place first in your first competition is a tremendous accomplishment."
The more experienced boys' Quartet, composed of senior Chase Walker, senior Ben Raburn, junior Adam Hardy, and junior Matthew McElveen, placed first in region competition with their renditions of The Beach Boys' Barbara Anne and The Mermaid, a traditional sea chanty.
"They are all experienced performers, and it showed," Mrs. Callaway said of the quartet. "They really hammed it up, and the audience just loved them,"
In his first literary competition, eighth grader Adam Rutkowski placed first in Piano, performing Fantafie No. 12 by Georg Phillip Telemann and Prelude No. 10 by Alexander Scriabin.
"He played spectacularly well and with such poise. It's hard to believe that he's only in the eighth grade," Mrs. Callaway said of Rutkowski's performance.
All of the second place finishers were competing in the literary for the first time.
Senior Hollis Wells placed second in girls' solo, performing a selection from Phantom of the Opera and Caro mio ben, an Italian Arietta by Giordani.
Junior Charlie Cox, in his first literary competition, placed third in Boys Solo, performing a selection from Phantom of the Opera and Vittorio mio core! by Carissimi.
Senior Nick Dawson represented Briarwood in National Extemporaneous Speaking, senior Hollis Wells presented Briarwood in Dramatic Oral Interpretation, and eighth grader Kate Graham represented Briarwood in Spelling.
The five schools competing in the Region 1A literary meet included Briarwood, Thomas Jefferson Academy of Louisville, John Hancock Academy of Sparta, David Emanuel Academy of Stillmore, and Twiggs Academy of Jeffersonville.