By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Annie Murrell's emotional portrayal of a young girl dealing with her mother dying and Ashley Panduro's humorous transformation into a catfish spared from the frying pan were just two of several top performances honored Saturday at the 40th annual Kern County Oral Language Festival, the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office said in a release.
Close to 300 students competed in the event held at Norris Middle School in northwest Bakersfield. They represented some 66,000 fourth- through eighth-grade students countywide, according to the release.
Kern County Oral Language Festival finalists
Serious Solo Interpretation: 1st - Kai Whitaker, Bimat Elementary; 2nd - Kaitlin Lang, Owens Intermediate; 3rd - McKall Henrie, Thorner School
Humorous Solo Interpretation: 1st - Nick Clarksean, St. Francis Parish; 2nd - Christian Bloemhof, Maple School; 3rd - Gabrielle Cortez, Chavez Elementary
Serious Duo Interpretation: 1st - Steven Weese and Braden Wingle, St. John's Lutheran School; 2nd - Tatiana Macy and Stevie McNabb, Thorner School; 3rd - Yasmin Kazmi and Mahima Vyarawala, Reagan School
Humorous Duo Interpretation: 1st - Matthew Anspach and Bella Bank, Stockdale Elementary; 2nd - Amelia Gall and Mallory Holmes, Columbia Elementary; 3rd - Lizzie Esnoz and Sydney Mehlberg, Maple School
Verse Choir Interpretation: 1st - Anthony Felts, Zachary Francisco, Morgan Holle, Georgia Johnsen, Simran Sidhu and Ryan Watkins, St. John's Lutheran School; 2nd - William Alexander, Grace Clanton, Kyleigh Earls, Peyton Grounds, Joshua Gutierrez and Cody Hartsfield, Discovery Elementary; 3rd - Sadie Armijo, Jake Beardsley, Steven Bush, Glen Hasta, Bailey Pike and Miguel Vargas, Thorner School
Serious Solo Interpretation: 1st - Annie Murrell, Chipman Jr. High; 2nd - Narda Zamora, Cecil Avenue Math & Science Academy; 3rd - Natalie Moss, St. Francis Parish
Humorous Solo Interpretation: 1st - Ashley Panduro, Washington Middle; 2nd - Jessica Ricketts, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish; 3rd - Jade Burchett, Downtown Elementary
Serious Duo Interpretation: 1st - Elise Gamble and Tiana Jacquez, Chipman Junior High; 2nd - Chloe Boyd and Baahir Jinadu, Downtown Elementary; 3rd - Hannah Marshall and Kylie Tennis, Norris Middle
Humorous Duo Interpretation: 1st - Cameron Aragon and Molly Showers, Rosedale Middle; 2nd - Jeremy Duket and Braden McCan, Downtown Elementary; 3rd - Kaitlin Bloemhof and Raeanne Bloemhof, Maple School
Verse Choir Interpretation: 1st - Tanner Dalton, Conrad Dalton, Hayden Dalton, Tyler Fidler, Nicholas Millan and Mason Saba, Fruitvale Junior High; 2nd - Shawn Bhogal, Mudit Buch, Josh Dhaliwal, Manraj Garewal and Humza Siddiqui, Warren Junior High; 3rd - Andrew Aleman, Peyton Armijo, Railynn Contreras, Ben Hakimi, Mica Hasta and Elizabeth Nakagawa, Chipman Junior High
Kern County Oral Language Festival is sponsored by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools with support from Norris School District.
Educators says students who participate in oral language activities learn to delve deeply into literature, its characters and its meaning. They also bolster their confidence and poise as they must perform under pressure in front of an audience.
Each performance must be an original interpretation of a published literary work available to all students. Participants compete in one of five interpretive categories: serious solo and duo, humorous solo and duo and verse choir.
Murrell, from Chipman Junior High, earned first-place honors in the seventh-eighth-grade serious solo category with her presentation of "You Shouldn't Have to Say Goodbye."
Panduro, from Washington Middle School, took solo honors for her seventh-eighth-grade humorous interpretation selection, "The Walkin' Catfish."