Tyrone Speech Team Takes Second at Fall Competition

The Tyrone Speech Team earned second place at the annual fall speech tournament held at Williamsburg High School on Tuesday, November 18.

Tyrone also came home with four of the ten personal awards.

Coming in first place with an almost perfect score, and winning Best Overall Speech, was junior Alysa Wheland, who recited the poem Dreamsong 14  by John Berryman. 

Wheland picked the poem because of the unique stance it takes on life. 

After earning second place in every meet last year, it was a goal of mine to win a meet this year. Meeting that goal on the first meet was special to me because I was able to start this speech season off very well.”

— Junior Alysa Wheland

“After earning second place in every meet last year, it was a goal of mine to win a meet this year. Meeting that goal on the first meet was special to me because I was able to start this speech season off very well. I’m hoping that this energy can carry through into Poetry Out Loud.” 

Senior Lydia Seltzer won Best Senior High Serious Oration, for her speech Advice for High School Freshmen from Departing Seniors by Nacy Barile.

“I’m excited to start this year off with a win,” said Seltzer. “Juggling the challenges of senior year has been difficult, but this award has proven to me that I am succeeding.”

Senior Laci Daniel won Best Senior High Poetic Oration for her interpretation of A Poem to a Friend with Depression, a song by a Illneas.  

“I always enjoy the speech team meets and it was nice to show off the work I put into my analysis and recitation of the poem,” said Daniel. 

Junior Bryanna Bryanna Britten won Best Senior High Humourous Oration for her reading of An Ode to Sushi  by Ashley Hefnawy

“I love sushi,” said Britten.

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

“Although JV broke our two-year winning streak, the TAHS Speech Team brought home four individual awards and the momentum to start practicing for our local Poetry Out Loud competition,” said Deskevich. 

Although JV broke our two-year winning streak, the TAHS Speech Team brought home four individual awards and the momentum to start practicing for our local Poetry Out Loud competition”

— Coach Leah Deskevich

Juniata Valley had twelve competitors, Tyrone had nine, and Williamsburg had four, a much higher turnout than past competitions. 

Tyrone’s nine members included freshman Reilly Rawlings, sophomore Lily Whited, juniors Alysa Wheland, Bryanna Britten, and Remington Weaver, and seniors Lydia Seltzer, Gabriella Hoffman-Emory, and Laci Daniel. Tyrone also brought two spectators, eighth graders Pyper Sparklin and Elise Kubarek.

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

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

Participants are judged based on the following categories: their 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, which include the best overall speech, the best senior high speech, and the best junior high speech.

Mackenzie Coffman won the best senior high speech and Leah Lightner won the best junior high speech. Both competitors are from Juniata Valley. 

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

Multiple speech team members will also compete in the local level of the Poetry Out Loud contest on December 13th. 

Any students interested in participating in Speech Team should email Leah Deskevich at [email protected] or ask a current speech team member.