ESU Desert (Palm Springs) Branch

A Message from the Desert (Palm Springs) Branch President

This  will  be  my last  President's  Message  for  this  season  and  as President of this branch. What a wonderful season we had!

My heartfelt thanks go out to the entire Board of Directors  that worked tirelessly this past season to make all of our events, mixers and programs such a success and who have supported me these last 3 years.

My thanks also to our members, who have supported our efforts with their attendance at our events, for volunteering and for  your encouraging words during the year.

Our profitable Mixers this year have been important in continuing to raise funds for our educational activities such as our very successful Shakespeare High School Competition in March and our High School Creative Writing Contest.

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News And Events

The National Shakespeare Competition Starts Now!

News Photo

We are pleased to announce the kick-off of the ESU's National Shakespeare Competition! Schools in our region may enter now, giving students the opportunity to compete in The Palm Springs/Desert Branch Competition.  The winner of the branch competition will travel to NYC to compete in the national finals at Lincoln Center!  


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With a performance of a sonnet and monologue from Shakespeare, Hunter Abal-Sadeq  from Idyllwild, CA, a student of Bonnie Carpenter at Idyllwild Arts Academy in Idyllwild, placed as a semi-finalist in the 34th  annual English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition in New York City. The Competition took place on May 1, 2017 on the stage of the Mitzi Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center with 54 semi-finalists from as many ESU Branch competitions nationwide. Hunter previously won the ESU Desert (Palm Springs) Branch competition.

The winner of the 34th English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, Ogechi Egonu, representing the San Francisco Branch, received a full scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp in Staunton, VA, this summer.  Second place winner, Brandon Burk, from the Kentucky Branch, won a cash prize of $1,000 from The English-Speaking Union, while the third place winner, Trevon Wainwright, representing the Kansas City Branch of the ESU, received an award of $500 provided by The Shakespeare Society.

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Winners of 2016 Creative Writing Competition

Each year, the ESU holds a creative writing competition for high school students in the Coachella Valley. This year we had over 100 submissions – on the topic of "Tomorrow is not promised."

The students' approaches varied widely. Some wrote formal essays, others submitted short stories. The judging was "blind"; the readers did not know the names of the students or their schools or their teachers. So we were surprised when the three winners were all from the same school – Coachella Valley High School – and from the same teacher – Simon Moore.

And the winners are:

  • First place: Simon T. Moore (yes the teacher's son!), who wrote an affecting story about the struggles of a young man and his loving family to help him escape his environment and get to college. Read here. 
  • Second place: Teresita Hernandez, who wrote about friendship in the face of a tragic illness. Read here.
  • Third place: Lesley Chavez, who wrote about young people seeking connection and love amid the dislocations of an imagined war. Read here. 

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The English-Speaking Union

Desert (Palm Springs) Branch

Desert (Palm Springs) Branch Landmark Photo

Welcome to the ESU

The ESU celebrates English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.

To find out more about our programs click here.