By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY May 17, 2005 On Thursday, May 12, the Sullivan County Interacademic League (SCIL) held a senior divisional meet (grades 9-12) at Hanofee Park in Liberty which happens to be the home territory of this years Sullivan Cup trophy winner, determined at this very meet.
In Round 6 of SCIL 2004/05, the stages of competition culminated in innovative skits created and performed by the students based on Elbert Hubbard's classic essay "A Message to Garcia."
"This literary trifle, 'A Message to Garcia,' was written one evening after supper, in a single hour," said the American man of letters (1856-1915) on December 1, 1913 in describing the genesis of his literary work.
"It was on the 22nd of February, 1899, Washington's Birthday: we were just going to press with the March 'Philistine'," continued Hubbard.
His tale of getting a message to General Garcia during the Cuban War "somewhere in the mountain vastness" quickly transcended the conflict South of the Border and came to represent messengers carrying missives in the guise of "other Garcias" delivering the message against all odds, without asking, Why?
"It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: do the thing 'Carry a message to Garcia!'" said the wordsmith.
Before carrying their own adaptations of "A Message to Garcia" from brief rehearsal to reality, teams of SCIL students representing the five participating local school districts had to surmount a few challenges.
A total of 30 challenge tasks awaited the students, ranging from brain teasers to classic rock, and from mythology all the way to their knowledge of the United States Supreme Court.
Throw in a bit of the Bard and a few questions about the periodic table of the elements, and the kids were ready to perform their skits on a grassy knoll overlooking a wind-swept lake in the park.
Winners (5-12-2005): Liberty (200 points), Sullivan West (152), Monticello (135), Tri-Valley (116) and Eldred (104).
Overall results: Liberty (1,148 points), Sullivan West (1,075), Tri-Valley (1,020), Monticello (1,015) and Eldred (970).