The Season of Melhuish

Thursday, October 15, 2020 - By: Tommy M, Privett ‘23

That time of year has arrived, poking its head around the corner once more. The time of colourful foliage gracefully falling. The time of pumpkin spice lattes and cozy, knitted blankets. The time of the year some call “spooky season” and the time of the first Melhuish competition.

For those not aware, the Melhuish competitions are comprised of three contests, one each in reading, writing, and reciting. Each term there is a Melhuish competition focused around one of these literary arts.

The first term competition is on the recitation of poetry, all options of which are found within the Poetry in Voice database. The second is molded around students writing and then reciting from memory their own persuasive speeches on a school-wide prompt. The final term competition is on student poetry, in which students write and recite their own poetic works.

From each English class, the two best performances are voted on and those who earn top accolades are granted an even more honourable task, sending a video of their performance to the esteemed Head of the English Department, Mr Paul Collis. Mr Collis then chooses a single representative from each grade who then shares their rendition for the entire school at Assembly.

The Melhuish competition gains its name from highly acclaimed English Department legend Beth Melhuish. Ms Melhuish was an English teacher at Brentwood for over twenty years and her passion for the literary arts is what led to this illustrious event bearing her name. She excelled at teaching English to those who saw it as a nuisance, not an ardour. Specifically, she inspired students to push through their comfort zones and into the unknown territory that is performing. After her passing in 2015, this competition ensures that Ms Melhiush will live on throughout Brentwood history.

The Melhuish competitions mean something different to every individual. To the aforementioned Mr Collis, Melhuish gives an opportunity to the students who hold a different skill set than those who are frequently highlighted. He stated that “English talent is in the pen, sure, but also in the larynx, and the Melhuish contests celebrate our best vocal performers, who are often a different, louder, crowd than our prize-winning writers.”

To Jensa NG, Mack ‘23 the first Melhuish allows one to study the works of the world’s finest poets to understand them better. In the analysis process, students can also use different techniques that fit their own learning style. Jensa said that these different techniques “allow us to gain a deeper knowledge of the poems”.

This year, Melhuish will allow students to share their experiences and feelings from the last six months as we are in such a pivotal time in history. Students will be encouraged to find new ways to express themselves and their situations, as that is what Melhuish is all about, giving a voice to the people.

Tommy M, Privett ‘23

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