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Tyrone Area School District announces speech team winners

Last Thursday, the Tyrone Speech Team won two first prizes at the Spring Convention of the Central Pennsylvania Speech League held at Southern Huntingdon High School, near Orbisonia.
Sophomore Francesca Lambert earned 49 out of 50 points for Best Poetry with her powerful performance of Wilfred Owen’s World War I questioning poem, Sweet and Right it is to Die for your Country.
Junior Dustin Brown accumulated 48 out of 50 points for best humorous short story with his hilarious performance of an original anecdote he composed entitled, Love, Beatrice Style. The short story recounts the escapades of a guy who courted a notoriously homely woman.
On Tuesday, March 22, at the Winter Speech Convocation at Juniata Valley High School, near Alexandria, sophomore Alexis Pazmino earned a stunning 50 out of 50 points for best poetry with her performance of African-American poet Langston Hughes’ piece entitled Democracy.
Tyrone Speech coach Richard Merryman congratulated the three winners along with the other members of Tyrone’s Speech Team for upholding a 90-year-old tradition of speech performance begun in Tyrone in the days of World War I.
Joining Lambert, Brown and Pazmino were juniors Todd Boytim, Trey Brockett, Christopher Clark, Sean Dickson, Aaron Houck, Matthew Lauder and Samuel McCloskey and freshmen Amber Stonebraker and Casey Janiello.
Merryman said, “Though certainly not required to, many times our speech team members choose to present poetry, since preparing to perform a poem requires less practice time than other types of presentations. Many of our team members lead hectic lives, with commitments to academic work, sports, after-school jobs and family chores. Consequently, poetry performance as a speech activity readily fits their busy schedules.”
He added, “To prepare for the Southern Huntingdon Speech Competition, Tyrone students diligently have practiced nearly every Wednesday since early spring.”
Over 90 years ago, Tyrone and Huntingdon students packed the Tyrone auditorium to hear the two schools debate the issue: Should the United States strengthen the Panama Canal and nearly the entire student body traveled by train to the Grand Theatre in Huntingdon to hear the teams debate for a second time.
Now, almost a century later, Tyrone continues the tradition of public speaking as the 12 member team continues to perform a diverse range of poetry and short stories. The team competes throughout central Pennsylvania, against smaller schools, at autumn, winter and spring speech convocations.