St. Joseph School in Cockeysville contest participation speaks to tradition

The annual Timonium Optimist Club Oratorical Contest is underway, and the students from St. Joseph School in Cockeysville are participating again this year. The public-speaking contest is a signature program of the middle school, and it is steeped in tradition.

This is the 53rd year that the competition is being held in partnership with the Timonium Optimist Club. Nineteen students spoke on the topic, “Where are my roots of optimism?” Each delivered a four- to five-minute speech before a panel of outside judges.

Congratulations to all of the middle school students for their excellent work and preparation for oratoricals, and special recognition goes to Zoe Astifidis, Sophie Mehdizadeh, Brian Rogers, Jack Sullivan, Sto Sullivan and Hannah Winkler for taking the top honors at the St Joseph contest.

These six students went on to compete against other area schools at the Timonium Optimist Club Level, with top honors going to eighth-graders Hannah and Jack. Hannah and Jack will next compete against the top finishers from roughly 30 other clubs when they take part in the Zone 6 competition in mid-April. Best of luck to Hannah and Jack!

Sawyer Bowerman, a 13-year-old from Ridgely Middle School, has won top honors at the inaugural Composition Competition for Electronic Music Production sponsored by Baltimore County Public Schools. His piece, “IKIGAI,” was created for the contest theme of “My Journey, My Future” and references a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being.”

Sawyer was the only student to earn an “exceptional” honor at the middle school level, and his work was showcased at the annual Baltimore County State of the Schools celebration on March 28. Sawyer has been producing electronic music for just under two years, but he has already produced several other pieces, in addition to IKIGAI. Congratulations to Sawyer!

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) Side by Side program is an opportunity for select high school students to rehearse and perform with BSO musicians. Eight talented musicians from Dulaney High School recently performed at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall as a part of the program.

In mid-March, our Dulaney students joined in with 32 other outstanding BCPS high school musicians in the program. Congratulations to Anna Boland, first chair, clarinet; violinists, Anthony Yao, first chair, David Chen and Bradley Han; Neal Lim and Andrew Wang on cello; and Adabelle Xie, first chair, and Sarah Shen on flute.

The repertoire for the concert included the first and fourth movements of Antonin Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” and selections from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” by John Williams. What a terrific program with the opportunity to perform on the stage at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Bravo to all the performers.

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