Knights slay speech nationals


By David Fang, executive news editor
After a successful year that included winning the state championship, 11 students represented Prospect at the National Speech and Debate Tournament. The competition was held from June 12 to 17 in Salt Lake City.
Among those competing were Kamila Cwanek, Molly McDermott, Rhegan Graham, Benjamin Marshall, Jimmy McDermott, Johnathan Zach, Kit Fitzgerald, Lillian Hermes, Garrett Strother, Andrew Pittman and Veronica Boratyn.
In the end, four students moved on to the final round, where Graham placed 3rd and Boratyn placed 4th in their events, Informative Speaking, where each person writes out and performs her own script on a given topic. 
The Molly McDermott and Marshall pair placed third in Duo Interpretation, where two people act out a program or literary piece.
Before the nationals, students had to qualify through a separate qualifier tournament that was similar to a regular season competition. Three students in each event were selected as qualifiers.
However, for Informative speaking and Program Oral Interpretation, the two events that made their first appearance at the national tournament, only two were selected.
Thanks to her excellent performance, students like Graham, who placed in the top 12 of her event, no longer have to sweat a qualification tournament, as they automatically qualify for the next year’s national tournament.
To help defray some of the cost of the trip, the speech team held a Jersey Mike’s fundraiser towards the end of the school year, which raised over $1,900 for the team.
Throughout the year, the team has also benefitted from the help of its coaches, Jonathon Kaminsky, Jeremy Morton and Scott McDermott.
During competition season, they watch and critique student performances and help distribute and tweak scripts for students. Starting this school year, the team will be adding a new coach to their staff, Paul Zaremba.
“During competitions, [the coaches] are so supportive,” Graham said. “They are such a role model to pull strength from.”