The Cardinal

Irene Dong

Irene Dong, Sophomore Contributor

One word to describe Canfield High School sophomore Irene Dong is confidence. As a member of the Speech and Debate team and an avid musician, she has learned to push herself out of her comfort zone, even if it means making mistakes along the way.

“If [Speech and Debate] has taught me anything, it’s how to speak confidently, and if not confidently, then don’t shut down in front of an audience,” she said, recalling one of the many lessons she’s learned from Speech and Debate. The early mornings and long rounds that are hand in hand with the team’s weekly tournaments have taught her that it’s okay to stumble over a line as long as you embrace the mistake and keep moving forward.

“The show must go on. If you skip a line, if you stumble...the important thing is you know how to pick yourself back up immediately and go on like it never happened,” Irene added, an air of determination in her voice.

The idea transferred to her musical performances as well. When Irene was 12, she performed her first piano recital. She recalls making a mistake about halfway through and freezing up. The audience was silent as she sat on the bench, her fingers hovering above the keys. After a minute or two, however, she was able to take a breath and plow her way through the remainder of the recital.

The moment serves as an important reminder to her to always move the show on. As long as Irene exudes confidence after making mistakes, she explains that she would continue on just fine, concluding, “the more you convince yourself you can do well, you will do well.”

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Irene Dong