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TAHS Speech Team marks Columbus Day with performance

At 8:15 a.m. this morning October 8, Tyrone High’s Speech Team marked the 515th Anniversary Of Columbus Day, with an oratorical performance about the Italian navigator for the whole school, over the school’s public address system.
According to Speech Coach Richard Merryman, “Sometimes Tyrone’s Speech Team becomes the home of lost causes and lost souls. We felt we had to rescue poor Christopher Columbus from all of the criticism and contempt he has suffered in the Modern Age. Certainly, the team recognizes that Christopher Columbus and his crew greatly harmed the Native Americans they found in the New World.”
“Nevertheless,” continued Merryman, “The Italian navigator Columbus proved himself a pioneer in convincing people that they could sail beyond the limits of known territory, and not fall off the edge of the world, or find themselves devoured by sea monsters.
“Few American citizens today appreciate that throughout Europe in the 1400s, many folks believed the myth that the Earth was flat. Christopher Columbus distinguished himself as a pioneer, when he advanced the notion that the world could be round. However, the monarchs in England, Italy, and Portugal did not agree, and denied Columbus the funding for his sea journey. Finally in 1486, Columbus petitioned Queen Isabella of Spain to finance his journey. Even she did not consent until six years later in 1492.”
Most adults remember that Columbus set sail with about ninety men on August 3, 1492 in ships christened the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Seventy days later, on October 12, 1492, Columbus and his sick, starved, and surly sailors set foot on the Caribbean Island we know now as San Salvador. The Speech Team’s “Tribute To Columbus” will capture that moment in American history.
Coach Merryman indicated that the “Tribute to Columbus” on the school public address system on Monday, October 8, 2007 will open the 94th season for Tyrone’s Speech Team. Organized in 1913, as the clouds of World War I gathered on the horizon, in their first year, Tyrone’s Speech Team debated Huntingdon High School about this question — “Should the United States strengthen the Panama Canal?” According to diaries compiled by the blind Tyrone History teacher Ralph Wolfgang, “Hundreds of students and adults filled Tyrone High’s auditorium on Lincoln Avenue to hear the debate. The Speech Team even employed school cheerleaders, who chanted and sang encouragement for them.”
Concluded Merryman, “As we open our 94th competition season, Tyrone’s Speech Team has acquired some capable new members. We look forward to their oratorical performances of both poetry and prose at our Autumn, Winter, and Spring competitions held in Williamsburg, Juniata Valley, and Southern Huntingdon. We also anticipate numerous speaking performances over Tyrone High’s public address system for all of our students as we commemorate some of American history’s high holidays.”