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Mt. Pleasant Storyteller heads to All-State
Student tells Filipino oral legend
Mar. 15, 2023 10:31 am, Updated: Mar. 20, 2023 9:52 am
MT. PLEASANT — Three Mt. Pleasant High School students performed at Individual State Speech Contest, Saturday, and will send one student to the All-State Showcase, Monday, March 27 at the University of Northern Iowa.
Senior Nefi Sanchez received division I ratings for storytelling and poetry. He also received an All-State nomination for his storytelling. His teammate Sarai Sanchez also received a division I rating in prose and Madison Haalboom received a division II rating for her literary program.
“For poetry I read a group of five original poems, titled Things I Know, one for each of the five senses,” Nefi said. “They explained five important factors in my life.”
For his All-State nominated story telling, Nefi performed a pre-colonial Filipino oral legend from the Bisayas titled, “Bakunawa and the Seven Moons.”
According to the History Channel, “Ancient Filipinos believed that the colossal creature called the Bakunawa was the cause of eclipses. While some described it as a mythical dragon, it is often depicted as a gargantuan serpent that inhabits the sea, the sky, or the underworld.”⠀
“According to legends, the god Bathala created seven moons to light up each night of the week. Captivated, the Bakunawa flew up the night sky to swallow every moon,” The History Channel describes. “When it was about to eat the last moon, people started banging their drums and the loud noises drove the beast away. Since then, they believed that every eclipse, the Bakunawa is trying to devour the moon.”
“Because the story of Bakunawa is an oral legend, there was no script to recite, I had to be familiar with the story and be comfortable with telling it a little differently each time I told it,” Nefi explained. “Fortunately, I had been telling it for years, over and over again to my younger siblings. Over time the story found a place in my heart, which I would say is a great form of preparation.”
“It’s been a story-flooded, nervous-filled, beautiful, and humbling experience,” Nefi shared of his experience participating in Mt. Pleasant’s speech program. “This was my first time doing storytelling in Speech, and the first time I sat in the chair in front of the judges and spectators, all my nervousness washed away and I felt at home, which I would say applies to how I feel about Speech.”
Nefi reserved his excitement after receiving his division I ratings.
“I had gotten all ones last year, but despite a great performance, I was not invited to All-State,” he said. “I found out that All-State is very, very hard to get into, even with a perfect performance, and it had been more than seven years since someone from Mount Pleasant had got to perform in it.”
“I was even more nervous because this is my last year in speech before I graduate, and I wouldn’t have another opportunity to make it to All-State,” Nefi added.
When Nefi heard about his nomination he, “started screaming, and couldn’t stop smiling.”
While Nefi prepares for his final speech performance of his high school career, he also looks ahead to graduation.
“After I graduate, I plan on serving a two-year mission for my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Nefi shared. “After that I’m thinking of returning to Mt. Pleasant, starting a Hispanic Grocery Store, because we really need one, and helping out the community.”