Junior Nina Pluviose is a SJHS Speech Team veteran. Having joined the team as a freshwoman, this is her 3rd year competing at the state and national level. Last year she placed 4th in the state in the New York State Forensic League Championships, and 7th in the nation at the National Catholic Forensic League Finals. Just a week ago, at the Bronx-Science Invitational (held from October 10th – 12th), Ms. Pluviose came home with another first place award in her event, Poetry and Prose Oral Interpretation. We expect to see her go far once again this year! In honor of her latest victory and to spread the word about this awesome co-curricular activity, we decided to sit down with Nina to learn more about her Speech Team experience.
What are two quotes you really love from the piece you performed at the Bronx-Science Invitational?
My two favorite quotes from my poetry piece include:
Dark don’t mean dirty, nappy don’t mean nasty, loud don’t mean ratchet, bold don’t mean problematic.
You can’t Emmett Till our sons no more, you can’t 16th Street Baptist Church to burn our bodies no more, you can’t walk into church and shoot us in prayer no more, you can’t kill us.
Why do you do Speech? What have you learned about yourself and the world through participating in this activity?
I do speech because it is something that I enjoy tremendously. In a patriarchal society where young women are taught to keep quiet, I get the opportunity to talk about the injustice going on in my community. To put it simply, it’s another way of protesting and speaking out. Another reason I love Speech is because I meet new people of different religions and cultures and ethnicities. And of course my teammates and coach make speech an amazing experience as well!
What are some of the challenges you have encountered in Speech and how have you faced them?
I constantly doubt myself. It doesn’t matter how many times someone may say that I am “talented” or “amazing.” The idea that I may fail is always in the back of my mind. However, recently I have begun to realize that I am a talented individual and that nothing can stop my success except for my own negative thinking.
How has what you have learned in Speech impacted the rest of your life?
Speech has helped me a lot; when I do presentations I don’t get nervous anymore. In fact, I actually like doing presentations! Speech has helped me find my voice, because I am not afraid to talk to new people anymore. Of course, I will say that when I am in a Speech competition, I am more confident than when I am dealing with my regular life; maybe that’s because the competition is more of a performance where I can become a totally different person.
Who is your Speech inspiration?
I think an individual who has inspired me most in my life would have to be my grandmother, because she has helped to guide me in my life and given me so much support. My grandmother has lived a very hard life, but she doesn’t let that get her down, and she has continued to be such an exceptional woman.
Why should students consider joining Speech?
I think students should consider joining Speech because it allows young girls like myself to gain confidence, and it gives us the opportunity to talk about issues that are affecting us or the people we know. Speech has also allowed me to travel to places that I thought I could never go – Washington and Florida for example – and these experiences have taught me a lot and have been very humbling.
What about the future? How does Speech connect to what you are interested in doing in college and beyond?
Well, I am interested in acting. Ever since I was a child I knew I wanted to be a performer. I think Speech has helped solidify that fact!