Tilghman hosts annual speech tournament
Cardon became coach in 2015, following the retirement of Martha Emmons, who guided and mentored more than a decade of students during her tenure. The 2015-16 year has been a transitional one for the Tilghman team, but the students have knit tighter together.

"Our speech team, it's just a family," said Anna Grace McGee, Tilghman sophomore and second-year team member dressed as Toto for the day. "We're really close, and we're doing a great job this year. I'm proud of our team because we do well, but even when we don't, we're still proud of ourselves and support everyone else."

Traditionally quirky, fun and thematic, the tournament is the Tilghman team's annual fundraiser, pulling in around $2,000 each year. That money is used to underwrite tournament entry fees, overnight trips and the like.

The tournament features 13 events sanctioned by the Kentucky High School Speech League in categories such as broadcast, poetry, prose and storytelling.

Top finalists included Kaitlyn Koehler of Murray for Impromptu Speaking, Clara Arnold and Grant Cottingham of Calloway County for Improvisational Duo, Natalie Clark of Henry County for Original Oratory, Clara Arnold of Calloway County for Poetry, Tesla Like of Murray for Program Oral and Storytelling, Griffin Paschall of Henry County for Prose, Maddie Rose of Murray for Broadcasting, Chapel Tinius of Bowling Green for Declamation, Chase McCoy of Calloway County for Dramatic Interpretation, Griffin Paschall and Charlie Raymer of Henry County for Duo Interpretation, David Lu of Murray for Extemporaneous, and Brynn Jones of Murray for Humorous Interpretation.

While Tilghman's team of about 23 students doesn't compete in the Tornado Alley Tournament, Cardon said the event was the team's greatest accomplishment this year.

"I'm most proud of them for this tournament, for sure," he said. "Working to get things done this week, I've seen a lot of teamwork happening. I've seen a lot of students coming together and delegating tasks that need to be done. That's one of the biggest things the kids have to learn, is being on a team."

Tilghman's team will see the retirement of many senior members, passing the gauntlet to the younger teammates next year. With the guidance from veteran members and lessons learned this year, Cardon says they'll be more than equipped to take on the challenge.

"For first-year students, it's interesting because they'll go compete and never make it to that final round, and they'll get discouraged," said Cardon. "I think most of the growth I've seen this year is in those students who have learned that they don't always have to do really well in events to learn things from them. When they come back next year, they'll boast those skills they've learned this year and use them to compete."
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