MONTCLAIR, NJ — Teams from Mt. Pleasant and Heritage Middle Schools (MPMS, HMS) recently competed at the Essex County Steering Committee for Gifted Education’s Forensics/Interpretive Reading competition at Montclair State University, where the Heritage team came in first place at the varsity level and the Mt. Pleasant team earned second place in the junior varsity division.

Livingston students competed against other teams from Essex County in the contest, which required participants to read an excerpt of a book, a short story, or a poem using expression to project mood, theme and characters. Interpretive reading requires students to convey and draw meaning from a selected text to share with an audience, while also using public-speaking skills.

Heritage Middle School Results

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In addition to taking home the first-place team trophy in the varsity competition, the HMS team also scored individual victories.

Raquel Silva was named a finalist for her emotional reading of a selection from “The Sun is Also a Star” by Nicola Yoon, while Sylvie Friedman took first place with her passionate reading of the poem "Why Am I Not Good Enough" by Olivia Vella. 

Competing on the team alongside Silva and Friedman were Ashlea Budzinski, Joanna Liu, Alan (Lelun) Li, Dasara Kurti, Daisy Yao and Maya Lederman.

Mt. Pleasant Middle School Results

Members of the MPMS team included Veer Agarwal, Sabrina Florita, Parth Jain, Aahaan Rathi and Emma Xing. Aahaana Agrawal, Kamalika Vora and Stephanie Yan served as alternates.

In addition to earning the junior varsity team trophy for second place, team member Parth Jain took home first place overall in the junior varsity competition for his reading of an excerpt from “Matilda” by Roadl Dahl