Tyrone Speech Team Places First at Fall Tournament

Speech team members outside of Williamsburg Highschool First row: Ashlynn McKinney, Lily Whited, Laci Daniel Second row: Mario Grugan, Alysa Wheland, Bryanna Britten

The Tyrone Speech Team earned the overall team trophy at the Williamsburg High School winter speech tournament on Tuesday, November 18. Tyrone also came home with four personal awards.

Coming in first place with a perfect score, and winning Best Overall Speech, was junior Laci Daniel, who recited the poem “Smile” by Rhiannon McGavin.

Daniel picked that specific poem because of the message it sent to listeners that people should not have a say in others’ feelings or expressions.

I was not expecting to win, as I have never really come close to it. I was so shocked and excited that all my hard work paid off.”

— Laci Daniel

“I was not expecting to win, as I have never really come close to it,” said Daniel. “I was so shocked and excited that all my hard work paid off.”

Junior Ashlynn McKinney won Best Senior High Serious Oration, for her original Speech titled, “Education Must Learn to Change.”

“It’s cool to see myself progress from when I first started until now,” said McKinney.

Senior Mario Grugan won Best Senior High Poetic Oration for his interpretation of Sam Foss’, The Calf Path.

“I love doing this,” said Grugan. “It was a good experience and a fun time at the competition.”

Sophomore Alysa Wheland won Best Senior High Speech for reading an excerpt from the 27th chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by JK Rowling.

“I didn’t expect to do as well as I did,” said Wheland. “I met all three of my personal goals for this competition, which was really exciting.”

Head Coach and former TAHS English teacher Leah Deskevich was proud of her team’s success.

“Hearing a great speech is a joy. Being a part of the process that gets a speech from good to great is a treasure. That being said, our team competed well,” said Deskevich.

Not only did the team compete well as individuals, with 4 out of 6 members winning an award, but the team competed well as a whole, winning the team trophy for having an average score of 55.2 out of 64 total possible points.

Hearing a great speech is a joy. Being a part of the process that gets a speech from good to great is a treasure.”

— Coach Leah Deskevich

Tyrone’s members include freshman Lily Whited, sophomores Bryanna Britten and Alysa Wheland, juniors Laci Daniel and Ashlynn McKinney, and senior Mario Grugan.

“I am very proud of the improvements each team member made over the course of a few weeks. Bringing home the top honor shows that practice makes perfect.” Said assistant speech team coach, Gabrielle McLaren.

The Central PA Speech League consists of Tyrone, Williamsburg, and Juniata Valley.

At the competition, competitors are broken up into random groups of four or five students and are placed in a room with a judge, typically a teacher or facility member from the hosting school.

Participants are judged based on the following categories: introduction, volume, expression, speed, pronunciation, eye contact, poise, and appearance.

In most competitions, whether athletic or academic, coaches are able to see all participants perform, but this is not the case for the speech team. The coaches do not see any of the speeches, with the exception of the top three winning speeches.

“I had a lot of fun,” said first-year member Bryanna Britten, “I’m excited to watch myself improve as a speaker and to see what the rest of the season holds, not only for myself but for the team.”

The next competition will be at Juniata Valley on February 17th.

Four speech team members will also compete in the local level of the Poetry Out Loud contest on January 7th.