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In addition to being captain of the Bishop Dunne Falconettes drill team, Alissa Anderson is also a poet. She advanced in both the Prose and Poetry categories in the TAPPS State Academic Competition held this past week in Waco.

Bishop Dunne Students Excel in TAPPS State Academic Competition

Dunne Students Compete in TAPPS State Academic Competition, Advance in Prose, Poetry

"One of the most fun things I've ever done, and I'm super excited for next year," is how one first-time participant described this year's TAPPS Academic competition.

Junior Hank Blackburn was one of two Bishop Dunne students who competed in two different events. He came to Dunne in the 6th grade from St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic School and first got into the TAPPS competition last year as a sophomore to compete in the Social Studies category.

"Mr. Kistner recommended Jane Kelleher and me, but I couldn't do it at the last minute for various reasons. I decided that I really wanted to try again this year and make it an obligation, and, well, did it!" says Hank enthusiastically.

About his preparation, Hank said, "I focused on two speech competitions this year and Current Events as my only written test. I didn't place in the speaking competitions, but I really just wanted to do this to allow myself to speak publicly with more confidence. I like reading the news, so Current Events was an obvious choice. I earned seventh place - they go up to eighth - out of maybe 30 or 40 people, so that was a really cool feeling."

Would he recommend TAPPS competition to his classmates? He responds, "This was my first time competing. I loved it!"

Hank divulged one aspect of the competition he didn't see coming, explaining, "The speech competition was kind of intense. Andy and I have never done anything like this before, and it turns out Andy almost made it to finals. A lot of these kids were aiming for the National Forensics League speech competition, a HUGE national speech competition, and only viewed this TAPPS event as a weekend endeavor to practice. It was a little humbling, to say the least - so obviously placing, even if it was just seventh, felt really sweet."

Hank plans to compete next year, "without question!” He says he’ll do Current Events again and aim for the top four spots and also try persuasive speaking, when students have only 30 minutes to prepare a quick speech on a random topic.

He explained that "Oratory," where the competitors prepare a speech, months in advance, wasn't necessarily that exciting. He adds, "I'm normally a planner, but the thing that makes or breaks your score is your performance, not your topic. I technically can't talk about the topics themselves, but Andy and I went in ready to persuade people of these cool social reform ideas we came up with."

In addition to Hank placing seventh in Current Events, Jane Kelleher placed seventh in Social Studies.
Alissa Anderson advanced to finals for both Prose and Poetry and placed sixth and fifth, respectively. Maria Nieto and Sai Lammata also advanced to compete in poetry semifinals.
Amanda York, Moderator for the competition, said, "While we have a few returning competitors, a lot of kids are new to TAPPS this year. Just being here represents a great deal of work that they've invested. The students are learning by experience and are already getting excited for next year."

2015 Bishop Dunne TAPPS Academic Team:

Destiney Kelly – Ready Writing
Jane Kelleher – Ready Writing, Number Sense, Calculator, Advanced Math
Paige Campbell – Ready Writing
Alesia Johnson – Prose Interpretation
Alissa Anderson – Prose Interpretation, Poetry Interpretation
Hank Blackburn – Persuasive Speaking, Original Oratory, and Current Events
Andy Rubarth – Persuasive Speaking, Original Oratory, and Current Events
Joseph Buford - Spelling
Saipriya Lammata – Spelling, Poetry Interpretation
Samantha Blake - Spelling
Jared Alex – Number Sense, Calculator, Advanced Math
Tremayne Bell – Number Sense, Mathematics
Sesalee Harris - Calculator, Advanced Math
Hailey Kriska – Social Studies
Daisy DelaRosa - Spanish
Aubrey Oliver – Duet Acting
Avery Oliver – Duet Acting
Maria Nieto – Poetry Interpretation

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