King’s Academy, April 24, 2016 — Last week the Seventh Annual Declamation Competition at King’s Academy was an emotional rollercoaster which resulted in the crowning of Anaise Amer ’18, Aya Alsabellah ’18, Tiamike Dudley ’17 and Tariq Al-Serhan ’17 as the school champions.
This year, in a packed Abdul Majeed Shoman Auditorium, a change to the format used in previous years saw freshmen competing against sophomores and juniors competing against seniors – in both Arabic and English.
In the younger students’ competition, Palestinian-American Anaise Amer ’18 (English champion) blew the community away with a fierce speech about a “pivotal moment” in her life in her hometown of Princeton, New Jersey: the 9/11 attacks. After facing discrimination for her religion and ethnicity, Amer began to question her identity – was she American or Palestinian? – until she ultimately learned to embrace both sides of herself.
Zaid Alamarat ’19 delivered two powerful addresses in English and Arabic – earning him the runner-up prize in both – about the connection – or lack thereof – between money and happiness, and what the Jordanian dinar is really worth in terms of the opportunity it brings to the Jordanian people.
Aya Alsabellah ’18 (Arabic champion) beautifully presented the story of a woman named al ‘uroobeh (Arab unity) surrounded by her constantly “fighting children,” a metaphor for the divided countries of the Arab world, in an allegorical tale about Arab unity.
In the upperclassman competition, Tiamike Dudley ’17 (English champion) choked up several times during his address in which he reminisced about growing up with what often felt like the “disease” of having dark skin, while Carina Ellis ’16 (English runner-up) gave a thought-provoking philosophical talk about Homer’s ideas on mortality and fate.
Tariq Al-Serhan '17 (Arabic champion) and Jamal Al Hourani ’16 (Arabic runner-up) opted for two very different approaches in their Arabic declamations: Al-Serhan shed light on people’s hypocrisy with regards to Arab customs and traditions, while Al Hourani told a tear-jerking tale of a young boy who loses his battle with cancer only to end up as the heavenly guardian of his parents’ garden in which he loved to play in so much.