John Tyler speech and debate students advance to National Tournament

February 22, 2017


John Tyler High School speech and debate students Tacorian Tilley and Triston Ferguson have qualified for the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) National Tournament to be held in Montgomery, Alabama June 18-23. Tacorian will compete in Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking and Triston in Congressional Debate. Classmate Jose Romero earned an Alternate spot in Congressional Debate.


The National Speech and Debate Tournament has been held across the country since 1931 and is the largest academic competition in the world. Each year, more than 3,500 high school students compete in a weeklong competition to determine the most prestigious title in high school academics: national champion.

To prepare for the national tournament, Tacorian and Triston will spend the next few months researching current events, practicing various speaking styles and tactics, and concentrating on details such has speaking slowly and clearly, voice pitch and articulation.


“Since I will speak on foreign events at nationals, I have been reading about many controversial issues in other nations in order to better understand what I'll talk about,” Tacorian said.

After high school, Tacorian plans to attend the University of North Texas to major in communications and minor in political science.


“After college, I plan on going into broadcasting in order to make others aware of the current events happening in our society,” he said.


Hopeful for a career in politics after graduating from Hillsdale College in Michigan, Triston says he uses his speech and debate skills not only during competitions, but in other areas as well.


“The skills I have acquired in speech and debate have helped me communicate much more effectively to large groups of people,” Triston said. “My critical thinking skills, reading skills, and analytical skills have improved in all of my classes, and I have been invited speak at different political engagements and conventions since joining speech and debate. These are opportunities that I would not have had without speech and debate. It has opened me up to so many new experiences.”


This will be the second time in three years students from John Tyler High School have advanced to the National Tournament.


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