Talk that talk: Speech sends 17 students to National competition in June

Dorothy Lakshmanamurthy, Page Editor

Hearing her name announced in the first place spot for dramatic interpretation at the highly competitive National qualifying competition at Bishop Noll on March 4, Jordan Fefferman, sophomore, was filled with excitement as she obtained a spot at Nationals in Phoenix, Arizona in June. 

“I was so happy when I heard my name and to know that I qualified again for my second year,” Jordan said. “I cannot wait to go, especially since my piece is extremely important to me.”

Jordan’s piece, “Lily’s Promise,” reflects an important message regarding her own Jewish culture. Jordan portrays a ninety-six year old Holocaust survivor, Lily, as she faces modern-day anti-Semitism. 

“My piece gives me a way to speak against antisemitism, share Lily’s message and teach others things they likely didn’t know before,” Jordan said. “With such a heavy and dark topic, I can see the real-life effects it has.”

Including Jordan, there are 17 national qualifiers. One of these qualifiers, Anna Raycroft, senior, was able to auto-qualify for Nationals this year, for humorous interpretation, since she semi-finaled at Nationals last year. At the National competition, she will be recognized and honored for qualifying for Nationals all four years. 

“It’s honestly such a surreal experience,” Anna said. “When I found out I ‘semied,’ I was crying and I hugged it out with some of my teammates. My team was so happy for me.”

Along with the individual qualifying achievements, the whole speech team won the State championship in Indianapolis last weekend. This is the thirteenth consecutive year that the team has won the State championship title. Mr. Jordan Mayer, speech coach, credits his team for collaborating together to obtain the title.

“We are quite young in that the majority of our team are underclass students,” Mr. Mayer said. “This has been a year that has really demonstrated how our veterans and our beginners can work together. We give tremendous credit to our veterans for mentoring and coaching our beginners. We also give tremendous credit to our beginners, for rising up to the occasion and making wonderful progress.”

 After State, the team takes a break to work on fine-tuning their pieces. They will send videos of their performances to trusted speech peers within the community and across the country, along with collaborating with one another on the team, to gather feedback for several May competitions and further prepare for Nationals. 

“It’s important to pay attention to all the little details of our pieces,” Delaney Craig, junior, said. “Every piece has a formula with a teaser, intro, body, climax, and falling action. The goal is to, within that formula, grab the audiences’ attention, reach their heart, and spread a message.”

National Qualifiers :

Jordan Fefferman – national qualifier in Dramatic Interpretation

Delaney Craig-national qualifier in Dramatic Interpretation

Anna Raycroft- national auto-qualifier in Humorous Interpretation. 

Anna Raycroft has become a 4 Time National Qualifier.  She will be honored at nationals.  

Tara Gaither/James Ferguson – national qualifiers in Duo Interpretation.

Nneka Oniah/Niah Maduakoloam – national qualifiers in Duo Interpretation

Kam Hubbard- national qualifier in Programmed Oral Interpretation

Grace Harris-national qualifier in Programmed Oral Interpretation

Gabriela Ruiz – national qualifier in Original Oratory

Katherine Sheehan- national qualifier in Informative Speaking

Addison Ellis-national qualifier in Informative Speaking

Claire Han-national qualifier in International Extemporaneous Speaking

Luna Gutierrez- national qualifier in United States Extemporaneous Speaking

Asha Patel in Congressional Debate

Ayush Arora in Congressional Debate

Dorsa Farahani in Congressional Debate


Speech State Champions 2023


For the thirteenth consecutive year, Speech again holds the title of State Champions. 

State Finalists 

Kam Hubbard -1st

Ari Jamerson – 3rd

Andrea Njakara – 5th

Anna Raycroft – 2nd

Jordan Fefferman – 2nd

Delaney Craig – 4th

Annabelle Spicer – 2nd

Alicia Powell – 2nd

Claire Han – 2nd