Saturday, February 28, 2009

Zoo Finale

These are the remaining photos from the Lowry Park Zoo. I mentioned before that this is rated one of the top three zoos in the country. I've shown you some of the wonderful animals that live there. Now I want to show the extra steps the zoo took to really make this place stand out. The landscaping and architecture really set it apart. In the above shot, Kali is standing next to the entrance to the Asian Gardens, probably our favorite part of the zoo.

If you want a beautiful picture, click on the above shot and take it to full-screen.
This is a beautiful garden that surrounds a small lake. It was dedicated in remembrance of those in your life that you love.
This is the entrance to the Safari Africa part of the zoo.
I believe the above was in Wallaroo Station.
Kali was still fighting a cold at this point. Of course, she perked right up when we got to the cute little penguins :O). I am including a video clip of that - sorry it's sideways. I have no idea how to fix it now that I took it the wrong way :(. Thanks for visiting the Lowry Park Zoo with us!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

From the Florida Qualifier, We Are Regionals Bound!

This is by far my favorite photo from the Sunshine State Qualifiers! I currently have it set as the wallpaper on my desktop. Yes, that's my daughter.

Keeping in mind we have only been involved with Communicators For Christ/ Institute For Cultural Communicators for five short months, our friends keep asking why we are always bailing and leaving town. When we returned from Masters I did a summary of what Masters was all about. Many people told me that really helped them understand what we were doing, so I thought I'd do another summary to tell you what we did at the state qualifier. Yes, there are going to be a lot of photos, but keep in mind I took over 700, so be thankful :O). And - a reminder to parents reading this post, I NEVER mention any minor's name on this post, except my own daughter. Sorry students, no tagging here :O). When we arrived, we helped set up the building for the tournament, then waited for the students to arrive. In the above photo, my daughter Kali is checking in to the competition.
On the first night, the students checked in, turned in their speech scripts, and caught up with old friends.
This guy always makes my heart glad :O).
The qualifier is also a time for making new friends.
Just a side note here: the students are required to dress in professional attire at all times, except for check-in night when many of the students wear club t-shirts.
Parents act as judges, hall monitors ("and a hush fell over the hall"..."go to the student center"), food preparers and servers, and building maintenance and upkeep workers. Whatever free time we could find was spent meeting other parents and making contacts, AKA friends.Wherever you have a group of CFC Speech and Debaters gathered, there is going to be praise and worship music! It's a given. We had a super team of students lead us in group worship. Also, anytime the students had free time on their hands between rounds, you could always find at least one person on a guitar. One time I counted four different young men playing for various groups of students at the same time. Awesome!
The first night, the students got to enjoy some awesome ice cream cookies. From what I heard - they were great! This is as close as I was able to get to any - lol!
The meals were excellent! Volunteer parents kept the table filled in the judges' room. Those fresh strawberries were marvelous! Someone made an awesome biscotti that was kept next to the coffee. High-fives to whoever that was! Yummo!
We were also able to reserve meals for the duration of the tournament. Here is a sampling of those. Pretty good! The BBQ was my favorite, as you can obviously tell.
The student on the left is a new friend I made at the tournament. He was really great with stress relief, as you can tell with this photo. What a hoot!
And the competitions began. In this photo, my daughter Kali and her partner are preparing to start their Duo Interpretation. For their literary piece, they selected something from the Reduced Shakespeare Company. Photo shot through the window. I did a lot of that.
A sea of black suits, and just a pinch of color.
Another one of my favorite photos from the qualifier.
We had 188 students competing, with the top ones in each speech and debate category qualifying to advance to regional competition. It takes a large facility to be able to make this all work. Kudos to Bearean! They were the best!
And, of course, I love all the detail work :O).
Check out his name tag :O). This is the husband of our tournament director. Part of our tournament was on Valentine's Day. The First Dude shown here gets extra points in the husband category for the beautiful red roses he presented his lovely wife - on stage - in front of everyone! Then he planted a smooch on her! You rock!
We alternated rounds of debate and various speech competitions. Above is Kali presenting her Open Interpretation, a speech she wrote called "Lead the Escape."
I love this young lady! She excells at everything she does. Her presentation was a combination of patriotic speeches and literary works. She began with part of "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere," featured some other pieces, and closed with the rest of the Paul Revere poem. Interp is "acted" out, which really makes it a lot of fun to watch and to present.
Here is our amazing director getting ready to annouce the names of the semi-finals winners, those who would compete in finals, and also continue on to regionals.
Waiting, listening, praying, hoping, fingers-crossing.
My beautiful daughter upon hearing her name called as a semi-finalist in Original Oratory, and realizing she is going to regional competition. Wahoo! Whoot! Whoot! If you click full-screen, you'll notice her pupils are way-enlarged. Is that a sign of shock? - lol
General celebrating with those advancing, a sort of organized-chaos, if you will.
The final round of Lincoln-Douglas Value Debate, where they debated - values. The gentleman to the right in the photo won first.
This was during the final debate round in Team Policy. This year's debate revolved around the topic of foreign policy between the United States and India. I believe the young lady (whom I love!) is directing cross-examination questions to her opponent. The young man and his partner came in first place.
Our last meal together. Yay! Chick-fil-A! Debating and "speeching" really work up an appetite!
And it's awards time!
Kali with her certificate! Great job!
The advancing Original Oratory group.
There were a lot of group shots. I showed you the first one because my daughter is in it. I show you this one because this is the Dramatic Interpretation group. Check their faces! They are not looking too dramatic right now! Just ecstatic!
And I just show you this photo because I love it!
Our Chapter. This crazy shot was one of our coach's idea :O). That would be the lady on the right-hand, bottom corner!
It's always hard to say good-bye and head home! Fortunately, the Georgia and North Carolina tournaments are coming up soon :O).
These are the ladies of serious awesomeness. You've already met our tournament director on the right (I had no idea the amount of work that took). The beautiful lady on the left was our facility manager. She was on the run - all the time. The first time I got to be hall-monitor, I heard noise behind me, turned and flashed my "and the hush fell over the hall" sign, quickly followed by the "go to the student center" sign before I realized it was this lady. My bad! She was a good sport and we both got a good (quiet) laugh from it!
I don't know why, but I leave you with this photo. I was getting ready to judge a round of debate and we were waiting for one of the debaters to arrive. I was looking around the room and was startled to find this hanging over my shoulder. I didn't know the stance on a judge bringing a camera into a room, so while we were waiting for our second debater to arrive, I took this shot over my right shoulder. I just love the "Aardvark of the Apocaliypse".
The Sunshine State Qualifier was awesome. We registered for the Georgia tournament this morning. Kali is already talking about a new idea for an interp, maybe to try out at the North Carolina tourney. We'll see. If you have any questions, about Communicators For Christ, or wonder how to get your own students involved in this wonderful program, please send me a message.
Also, The Institute For Cultural Communicators (our non-profit organization) is launching their new website March 1st at 12:05 Am, CST. You can check them out here. God bless you as you culturally communicate for Him :O).

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