HARLINGEN — David, get your books.
Josue, please take Brianna to school. I have to finish this report.
Hello, Mr. Bennet. Can you give me an extra day on this grant proposal?
Decisions. Decisions. Ever feel like your brain is grinding to a halt?
Angela Gonzalez, a senior at Harlingen High School South, spoke about this topic last month at the Harvard Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament.
“Our mental energy gets depleted,” said Angela, 18. She was one of 17 members of the Harlingen High School South Speech Drama and Debate team who competed in the event Feb. 17 to 21. Angela made it into the top 25 out of 90 contestants in informative speaking from across the nation.
This is her first year competing in Speech Drama and Debate.
“I like speaking,” she said. “I never thought I would go to the top.”
The success she and her fellow team members enjoyed impressed the coach and teacher, Leah Ann Ince.
“This is one of the larger groups I have taken to Harvard,” Ince said. “We had sophomores come home with trophies and we had seniors, and they both came out on top.”
The team members showed a passion for their work beyond the tournament. Jaime Gomez, 18, spoke with great energy about the piece he presented for program oral interpretation. His presentation addressed an issue regarding the Boy Scouts of America.
“It showed how the Eagle Scouts removed their Eagle Scout medals in support of James Dale,” Jaime, a senior who reached the top 50 out of 170 in program oral interpretation.
He was referring to a case in which James Dale had been expelled from his position as assistant scoutmaster for being gay.
As part of the program oral interpretation, Jaime assembled a collection of scripts, articles and poetry to convey his message. However, they were more than a haphazard mosaic of disconnected pieces.
“They have to flow together,” said Jaime. “I went into it looking at how I was going to tell James Dale’s history.”
James Gracia and Jessica Durant both presented an interesting piece for duo interpretation. James, a junior, said the piece was about a young couple in which the wife has died. James, who plays the husband, is in a park where he reflects on his wife, played by Jessica. It’s more than wistful remembrances.
“I am pro-life, she is pro-choice,” he said. “It’s a battle between values. What matters really? What’s most important?”
All of these activities, needless to say, require decisions. We make so many of them. That’s what Angela talked about, and in some way this exhaustive process strikes a chord with everyone, before and after the competition.
“I talked about how after so many decisions throughout the day, your mind can lose the mental capacity,” she said.