Speech Team Alumni Return to Share Tips and Tricks

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TAHS and Speech Team Alumni Kenny McKernan, Chloe Makdad, Paige Umholtz, and Nathan Hormell helped the Speech Team ring in the New Year by returning to Tyrone on Friday, January 3 to share their tips and tricks about public speaking and high school.

“Don’t care what people think, join the Dawg Pound and edit your favorite movie scenes to make them Speech Team-worthy,” McKernan said before capturing the group’s attention with his chair-kicking performance of Pepe Silvia’s monologue from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” 

McKernan is a junior studying Parks and Recreation at Penn State University with hopes of working in the sports arena. McKernan’s public speaking skills helped him win a nomination to a recent campus-wide speech contest and secure a job and internship with the State College Spikes. 

Makdad, the 2018 TAHS Valedictorian, is currently competing on the Speech Team at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana where she’s majoring in math, statistics, and computer science and working as a math tutor.

The Tyrone Speech Team provided me with a relaxed environment to become comfortable with and even enjoy something that many people say is their greatest fear, all the while having a blast with my teammates and coaches,”

— said Makdad

She went on the record before the visit to say, “The Tyrone Speech Team provided me with a relaxed environment to become comfortable with and even enjoy something that many people say is their greatest fear, all the while having a blast with my teammates and coaches.”

“Have fun,” she encouraged the team. “Don’t be too anxious or nervous. [Your speech] does not decide the fate of humanity. And don’t stress so much about grades. Bs aren’t bad.”

Then she delivered her award-winning rendition of the “Sad Cat Diary” from YouTube.

“Public speaking is something you’re going to use the rest of your life. You might as well get good at it,” Umholtz, a junior at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, said. She’s studying biology with plans of becoming a genetic counselor. 

She delivered an abbreviated version of Prince Ea’s “Everybody Dies, But Not Everybody Lives” and reminded students that “You’re going to mess up [when competing]. Just keep going.”

Hormell is a junior at Washington and Jefferson University where he’s studying business administration with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. He hopes to run a digital media business in the future and to visit Dubai this month to study its economy firsthand.

“Do whatever is interesting to you,” Hormell told the team. “I once read a Jeep ad from Craigslist and wore a kilt during a ‘Braveheart’ speech. Today I’ll read you the eulogy from ‘The Big Lebowski.’”

“I’m so glad they visited,” Gabrielle McLarren, Speech Team co-advisor, said. “Their energy is unparalleled.”