Lakeview Academy continues its dominance at the state literary competition, bringing home the title for the third year in a row — the fifth state championship in six years.
It has also won its region, 8-A, 12 years in a row now.
“It’s so rewarding,” said Nigel Traylor, Lakeview literary team coach. “I hope to keep this legacy and carry it on as long as I’m here.”
Lakeview had eight team members win their respective events in the region competition. Those members moved on to state, where they collected enough points as a team to outperform Seminole County, Bremen and George Walton.
“It’s humbling and pretty cool that you get to go back to school and say we are the state championship team,” said Reid Atherton, a senior literary team member who placed second in the boys’ solo event.
Students compete in six events: dramatic interpretation (boys and girls), essay (boys and girls), extemporaneous speaking (boys and girls), solo (boys and girls), quartet (boys) and trio (girls).
No member from Lakeview placed lower than third at state.
“I think (our success can be attributed to) the dedication and the focus that the kids put towards it,” said Traylor. “They really want to do well, and they’ll do whatever it takes to be the best they can.”
The school boasted two individual event state champions as well: Kelly Hold Harrison, dramatic interpretation, and Sahara Calderhead, solo.
“I didn’t want to let (the team) down because they’ve won so many years in a row,” said Harrison, a sophomore and a first-year literary team member. “We worked really hard together. It was such a team thing.”
Winning both individual events and the overall competition may not be new, but the title still means a lot.
“I think it’s a pretty cool experience,” said Calderhead, a senior. “When they announce that you’ve won, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
The state competition was on March 17, but the preparation began the day after last year’s competition.
Students begin working on choosing their musical accompaniment or their theatrical piece not long after the previous year’s competition and continue to work on it through the summer and into the school year.
“Taking several months, to almost a year, to get familiar with the piece is important,” said Traylor.
The team says that is essential because unlike some sports, it only gets one chance at proving to the judges it belongs in the top spot.
And, at the state level especially, the competition steps up.
“It’s not just writing an essay or singing a song — it’s really competitive,” said Traylor.
Lakeview earned 28 points as a team — five more than second-place Seminole County.
It placed first in girls’ dramatic interpretation and solo; second in boys’ solo; and third in both boys’ quartet and girls’ trio.
“It’s cool to know that all the hard work we put in paid off,” said Calderhead.
Lee Johnson covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him: