Jonathan Wolf and Tioni Reyes of Dandan Middle School placed the CNMI on the map after joining over 900 students in the weeklong 2017 Middle School National Tournament of the National Junior Speech and Debate Association, held in Birmingham, Alabama.
Tioni Reyes advanced to the quarterfinals, placing in the Top 26 in Poetry Interpretation.
She expressed shock at how well she did. “I was so excited to see my name posted on the wall. As a first-timer to ever compete at the national level, this accomplishment has truly caught me by surprise.”
The incoming 9th grade student credits her coach, Johanne Kristine Wolf, for inspiring her. “I thank her so much. She has pushed me to do my best and go for it! She helped me with my pieces and strategy, especially during the regional competition [on Saipan]. I would like to thank her, my fellow competitors, my team mates and my parents.”
Reyes will be attending Marianas High School this school year and looks forward to continuing her involvement in the National Speech and Debate Association.
Jonathan Wolf, a history maker for the CNMI in his own right, advanced to the national semifinals after six grueling rounds. He ultimately placed in the Top 12 for his Humorous Interpretation of “Jimmy, The Anti-Christ.” Jonathan Wolf, the declamation champion at the 2016 National Junior Speech and Debate Association, placed second in Prose Interpretation at this year’s national tournament.
Feeling the pressure from Day 1, Jonathan Wolf said: “I’ll be lying if I say I didn’t have high hopes in bringing home the championship trophy this year. But I was happy with the outcome of the competition; the first-place student was really good. I felt scared after seeing his performance. All in all, being second to him was pretty awesome. I’m happy to bring home a second-place trophy as a gift to our islands.”
“I thank my coach, Johanne Kristine Wolf; her encouragement kept me determined. I pray to keep my energy going and do my best again in next year’s competition,” Jonathan Wolf added.
The National Speech and Debate Association of the Western Pacific will begin its monthly competition at the start of school year 2017-2018. The monthly competition determines the regional competition eligibility of students as they vie for a spot in the CNMI Team for the 2018 National Speech and Debate national tournament, which is scheduled to take place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (PR)