School News

Maharishi School Wins Award at Iowa High School Speech Association Competition

The Iowa High School Speech Association's All-State Festival was a special one for the Maharishi School team this year; in fact you could literally call it a banner year!  After working for months on their musical theater entry, a moving song called "Falling Slowly" from the musical "Once"; the team was awarded the Critic's Choice Award!  The actors, Anna Unger and Devan Burke,  performed on a bare stage with only one chair as a prop, relying on the power of voice and emotion to convey the weight of the scene.  

Maharishi School Speech Coach Brendan Thomas is more than pleased about the IHSSA prize. "It's an incredible honor to be awarded a banner at the All-State festival: There are no divisions in speech competition, so we are performing alongside groups from the largest schools in the state, schools with incredible music, performance, dance, and choir programs. To have the critic find our piece, from our tiny school, to be what stuck with her all day is a huge accomplishment."  A description of the selection process from the IHSSA website underscores the difficulty of earning a Critic's Choice banner.  "141 Iowa High Schools had groups named as Outstanding performers at the IHSSA State Large Group Speech Contest held February 6th. Approximately 24,000 students started at the district level from over 347 schools. Now only 141 schools had groups named as Outstanding Performers and less than 1,700 students earned the right to be named as Outstanding Performers. The All-State Festival was held February 20th, at The Iowa State Center, Ames. The following schools were selected as Critic's Choice for the IHSSA Large Group All-State Festival. This Critic's Choice is selected by a professional in the specific field as the top performer in the State of Iowa in that performance area for 2016."

Thomas credits the hard work of the coaches and performers for developing the Maharishi School Speech Team to its fullest potential.  "My wife, Madeline, coached this event, and the musicality and powerful blocking that she brought to it really took the piece to a new level. It certainly would not have been possible without the dedication and hours of hard work that she and the two students put in."  Beyond the surface level effort, though, was something extra that caught the critic's attention.  Thomas explains, "The consciousness embodied in the actors brought forward their stage presence.  The critic mentioned that our piece created Zen on the stage: She could see the consciousness of our performers up there. The strengthening of consciousness that we focus on at the school really struck home for her, and that was a wonderful vindication of the ideals we work for at MSAE."

This is what we all work for here at Maharishi School, that "something extra" that Consciousness-Based education provides for each student.  By incorporating meditation into our school day, and by finding the wholeness in each aspect of the curriculum, we strive to help each student become a self-actualized member of the community.  Whether it is science or art, computer programming or speech, our dream for each child at Maharishi School is to find themselves, and in turn, their gift.

Congratulations to our Speech Team, you have found one of your many gifts, and we look forward to seeing how it unfolds in the future!

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