Dominican Academy Senior Wins 2024 English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare New York City Branch State Finals

| 03/16/2024

By: The Good Newsroom

Queens native Margaret Schumacher, the sole Catholic School competitor, won the prestigious honor

Dominican Academy senior Margaret Schumacher (pictured) won the 2024 English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition New York City Branch State Finals, held on March 7, 2024, at the Morgan Library in Manhattan.
Dominican Academy senior Margaret Schumacher (pictured) won the 2024 English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition New York City Branch State Finals, held on March 7, 2024, at the Morgan Library in Manhattan. Photo courtesy of Dominican Academy.

NEW YORK CITY– On Thursday, March 7, 2024, Dominican Academy Senior Margaret Schumacher won the 2024 English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition New York City Branch State Finals, on stage at the Morgan Library in Manhattan. 

Margaret performed Sonnet 116 and a monologue from “Twelfth Night’ in the role of Viola. She was the sole Catholic school competitor out of 10 NYC finalists. 

The dedicated student actor says the win could not have happened without the support received from her all-honors Catholic girls secondary school, Dominican Academy (D.A.). Schumacher said, “ I owe so much to the unending support and encouragement not only to Ms. [Zoe] Spelman but the entire D.A. community.” She added, “Shakespeare has been an important part of my life since I was very young, so to be able to not only be able to perform his works but to win first place really means a lot to me.” 

Margaret said she relied a lot on her faith to get her to this point in the competition. “As a Catholic, during the competition, I was running over Psalm 23 in my head to keep my hands from shaking. The sheer number of teachers and fellow students who told me that they were praying for me gave me a lot of confidence at the competition. I was very surprised to learn that D.A. was the only Catholic school competing, but I am nonetheless proud to be representing my school and Catholic Education in general, said Margaret.” She added she has also “been fortunate to have done several plays at our brother school, Xavier High School.”

The school community is also grateful to D.A. English teacher Zoe Spelman for helping to prepare her for the competition.Spelman said it was “one of the most beautiful moments of my 28-year teaching career was to hear Maggie recite her monologue and sonnet tonight. Even if she had not won, she was magic. It’s a testament to Shakespeare’s genius that teens in 2024 can still find his plays and poetry so relevant.”

The English-Speaking Union (ESU) of the United States is a national membership organization with more than 4,000 members nationwide, intending to expand minds, strengthen friendships, and unlock opportunities in the lives of students, teachers, English language learners, and ESU members. Their National Shakespeare Competition is held annually for students in grades 9-12. The ESU said the competition is designed to “inspire students to express their passion, ideas, and imagination through the medium of performance while simultaneously developing fundamental oracy skills.”

Schumacher will advance to the Nationals, to be held at Lincoln Center in April, 2024.

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