“We showed our teachers our potential; though we may not be good at speaking English, we are determined.”
I was doing my chores on a Sunday evening when I got the news – “Choral Speaking practice starts tomorrow”. I felt like I had ants in my pants. The next day, it was all I could think about.
When class was finally over, I immediately went to get myself a script. The title read “An Academic Confluence”. I was thrilled. The script was as interesting as I thought it would be.
Days passed, practises went on. I noticed that the team was breaking up. People were joining and leaving at will; it was as if Choral Speaking was just an excuse to skip classes. Some were not even coming for practices. I pleaded with my friends, but alas, it was all in vain.
Feeling defeated, depressed, and afraid of rejection, I stopped asking others to join. I just focused on perfecting my own performance. Then one evening, our numbers grew. I was very pleased to see more people join us. In that moment, I realised that I was so focused on those who weren’t dedicated, I forgot to focus on those who were.
Finally, the day we were all waiting for arrived, the day of the competition. When it was my team’s turn to perform, I had cold feet and my heart was beating fast. I was so nervous, I lost control of my voice and the script was scattered in my brain. Then something happened-
I made a mistake.
My voice was loud enough to overpower everyone else’s. Everyone heard it, even the judges.
When the judges left to determine the winner, I prayed. For ten whole minutes, I prayed that my team wouldn’t lose because of my foolishness. I prayed that this time, it would be different. This time, we would not be greeted by the bitterness of defeat, rather the sweetness of victory.
The judges returned and announced the second place winner. It went to another team – which I thought would have won first place. My teachers felt a bit sad, and said we’ll try again next year. But I thought, if that school got second place, then who was first? They announced it, and for a second, I could not believe what I heard.
We won first place.
For once, I was able to go back to school feeling proud of what my friends, my teachers and I have achieved. We showed our teachers our potential; though we may not be good at speaking English, we are determined.
I turned to look at my friends; they were jumping with joy. I turned to look at my teachers; their faces lit up like stars on a clear, dark night.
It was an unforgettable moment.
Written by NM, 17. His team placed 1st in its group at the first round of the state Choral Speaking Competition and finished in the Top 8 (out of 48 teams) – the highest achievement for the school team so far. NM attends a school in Kuala Lumpur and is a student of 2014 Fellow Ujval Sidhu-Brar as well as 2012 Alumna Ratnadewi Lim.