- Middle School
As part of the 8th-grade Personal Memoir series, 7/8 English Teacher and '07 SCS Alumnus, Abby Diamond, joined her students in writing her own memoir, reflecting on her final Speech Meet as an 8th grader at Clark.
I remember arriving at school before the sun was up and the grass had a fresh coat of frost. It was a cold, dark morning in the fall of 2006. Even though it was very early on a Saturday morning, there was a buzz of energy in the air. We were headed for our last speech meet ever—the first of many lasts in our 8th-grade year at Stanley Clark. I remember sitting on the bus with my best friend, who I had known since kindergarten, listening to broadway tunes on our iPods. The anticipation and excitement brought a murmur of whispers from the sleepy teens around us.
As the sun rose, the sound of the whispering teens in the bus grew, and we finally arrived at the school. As we got off the bus, the team scattered to find the rooms, bathrooms, and concession stand. I was competing in the poetry category. I still remember picking the poems and writing the introduction for my event. I had chosen poems by James Whitcomb Riley; even then, I loved language and poetry. I felt confident in the selection, but I worried it wouldn’t be enough to win. One of my competitors had been close in scores with me all year and I wondered if this was the meet where she would finally beat me.
At the beginning of the competition, all the poetry speakers filed into the empty science classroom. I was second to last. I remember watching each person compete before me and feeling the butterflies in my stomach multiply as each performance concluded. I loved the feeling before performing: the empty stomach, the sweaty hands, the anticipation of getting things right. I felt nervous but confident walking to the front of the room to perform. The performance was a blur, but I returned to my seat afterward feeling accomplished, satisfied, and a bit bittersweet. This was my event, and now it was over; the scores were up to the judges, and all I could do now was wait.
I ate lunch with my friends and enjoyed the last few moments before scores would be revealed. Being surrounded by my teammates, some of whom I had known for years, felt like home. We had lost teeth together, lost loved ones together, traveled to Canada together, and now we would find out if all our hard work had paid off at our final speech meet.
As each ribbon was awarded, I felt more and more nervous as the poetry category loomed closer and closer. I was filled with joy as most of my friends were awarded ribbons in their categories. As they began to announce poetry, each name for participation and places made me feel anxious and excited at the same time, until they got to first and second place. To be honest, I don’t remember them reading my name; I just remember being hugged from all sides and congratulated as I walked to the front to receive my first place ribbon.
The rest of the day was a blur of hugs, congratulations, and cheers as Stanley Clark won the invitational. All of the eighth graders piled in the back of the bus and sang “We Are the Champions” by Queen on the way back to school. The joy and love from that day is still a treasured Clark memory, fifteen years later.
About the Author
7/8 English Teacher
- Speech Team