2021 Irving-Marshall Declaimers Announced

Monday, December 21, 2020
The 2021 Irving and Marshall Declaimers

The Washington Irving Literary Society and John Marshall Literary Society—which together include every member of the Mercersburg Academy student body—have announced their respective rosters of declaimers for Declamation 2021 (the main event of the school’s annual Irving-Marshall Week). Both groups have experienced representatives and talented newcomers, which should make for an exciting contest when Declamation is held Monday, March 29. Irving-Marshall Week 2021 was rescheduled from its traditional spot on the school calendar, and is set this year for March 26–29.

Irving will send up Wren Dahbura ’21 (Hagerstown, MD), Aden McCracken ’21 (Tyrone, PA), Avo Reid ’22 (McLean, VA), Emma Shuford ’22 (Hickory, NC), and Finn Sipes ’22 (Mercersburg, PA), while Marshall has decided on a quintet of Maddie Dawson ’21 (Hagerstown, MD), Clara Getty ’21 (Allentown, PA), Aidan Henry ’21 (Guilford, CT), Amelia Page ’21 (Alexandria, VA), and Manny Ponce ’23 (Union City, NJ). Linden Amster ’23 (Gettysburg, PA/Irving) and Mel Cort ’23 (Brookeville, MD/Marshall) are the declaimers-in-training for each society. (A declaimer-in-training is essentially an alternate, should a declaimer not be able to perform for any reason.)

Getty took third place for Marshall at Declamation 2020, when Marshall captured its fifth-straight win in the annual competition between the two societies. Page and Ponce also declaimed for Marshall that evening, while Dahbura and Shuford competed for Irving.

During the weeklong competition (which has been shortened to four days this year due to the altered academic calendar), the two societies face off in a variety of athletic contests and the all-important and highly anticipated Declamation. The declaimers deliver prepared monologues on stage, in formal attire, in front of the entire student body and a panel of distinguished judges inside the Burgin Center for the Arts’ Simon Theatre.

Madi Norris ’21 (Irving) and Ryan Bland ’21 (Marshall) are this year’s society presidents.

Marshall has won the competition the last five years and in 12 of the past 14 years; Irving’s last win in the competition came in 2015. Marshall’s current five-year win streak is its longest since at least 1901; in 2021, Marshall will look to match the longest streak of domination by either society in the history rivalry (Irving’s six-year run from 1911 to 1916).

Find out more about the Irving-Marshall tradition, which is older than Mercersburg Academy itself. (Mercersburg was founded as a college-preparatory institution back in 1893.)

Declaimers pictured above (first row, L–R): Wren Dahbura ’21, Aden McCracken ’21, Avo Reid ’22; (second row) Emma Shuford ’22, Finn Sipes ’22, Linden Amster ’23; (third row) Maddie Dawson ’21, Clara Getty ’21, Aidan Henry ’21 ; (fourth row) Amelia Page ’21, Manny Ponce ’23, Mel Cort ’23.