Sophomore Anka Chiorini is Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s first ever top winner of the Syracuse Shakespeare Competition. She competed against ten students from local Central New York schools and placed first. Winning the competition was huge for Chiorini.
She said, “It’s completely insane! At the competition, I wasn’t quite sure how I would do, I was really just hoping for an honorable mention or to be a runner-up because winning first place seemed so implausible. When they were announcing the runners-up and they didn’t say my name, I figured that I hadn’t placed at all, but it was so shocking when they announced my name. It was so unreal, the whole thing didn’t really set in until I started preparing for the national competition.”
Chiorini has a background in theater and Shakespeare which inspired her to enter the competition. She says, “I grew up around a lot of theater and saw an unusually large amount of Shakespeare plays as a small child. I’ve always loved theater and acting, so the competition seemed like something I might enjoy.” Chiorini’s father teaches theater and Shakespeare at LeMoyne College, so he was a good resource when she was preparing. English teachers Mr. DeChick and Mr. Phillips also helped Chiorini prepare. “Mr. Phillips was also a huge help in filming my video for nationals and my preparation for the branch competition. Both Mr. Phillips and Mr. Dechick provided great feedback as I was getting ready for the branch level.”
At nationals, Chiorini didn’t have to prepare any new pieces, but had to re-record her sonnet and monologue, which she loves performing. “I absolutely love to perform my monologue. It’s such a powerful piece and every time I perform it, I just feel so strong and empowered!”
Chiorini felt she did well at nationals and her favorite part was all of the support she received from the J-D community. “The fact that so many people approached me to tell me that they had voted for me for the People’s Choice Award or that their teacher had had their whole classes vote was surreal and amazing.”
Next year, Chiorini plans on competing again, “I’ve had such great experiences both years that I have competed and I am so excited for next year.”