Look out, Florida

Several B-A students qualify for nationals in speech


Several students from Bellwood-Antis qualified for nationals in speech. Front: Jules Lusk; Kneeling: Coach Sally Padula and Coach Cherie Bower; standing: Ali McCaulley, Randy Zitterbart, Luke Hollingshead, Grace Misera, Stephanie Mills and Keri Little.

Emilee Astore, Social Media Editor/Staff Writer

Congratulations to the Speech League students for qualifying for the NCFL national competition.

Schools from every state travel to the site of the Grand Event each year. This year the site will be in Fort Lauderdale, FL, May 22-25.

Bellwood-Antis has been sending students on this trip for the past 18 years.

Seven students have qualified this year:

  • Randy Zitterbart and Luke Hollingshead- Duo Interpretation
  • Grace Misera- Humorous Interpretation
  • Kerri Little and Jules Lusk- Public Forum Debate
  • Allison McCauley- Poetry
  • Stephanie Mills- Declamation

Unfortunately, due to a prior commitment, Grace is unable to make the trip.

“I’m very excited about this once in a lifetime event. Some speech members will only get this chance this year. And I never expected to share my first ever airplane flight with such a wonderful group of students!” said Mrs. Padula.

The students will compete against other speech competitors on Friday, Saturday, attend the awards ceremony on Sunday, then return Monday.

Since this is the first year of Speech League without Mr. Bower, Padula said she was worried about the change in advisers causing some kids to quit participating in Speech. “Mr. Bower seemed to have more leverage with the kids, urging them to compete,” she continued. “I’ve had a few students quit this year, but the ones who stuck it out with me and Cherie Bower are the ones who participated simply for the enjoyment of forensics. Mr. Bower has been a wonderful source of information and advice. I couldn’t have done this without his help and encouragement.”

Unfortunately, with this year’s trip, the school is not financially able to foot the cost of the trip, but is being generous by giving the speech team some options to be able to pay for the trip.

“Dr. Tom McInroy has been very supportive of Speech league this year and has been willing to work with us to help make this trip possible,” said Padula.

Although paying for the trip themselves has proven to be a challenge, the speech team has been asking for community donations and fundraising. Parents have agreed to pay for remaining costs after donations and fundraising have finished.

Next week, the group will begin selling peanut butter eggs and peeps in a candygram as one way to try to raise some extra funds for the trip.

Mrs. Padula is hoping things only get better after her first year on the job, but it’s hard to imagine things going better than they have already.

“After a year under my belt, I’ve gained more insight into the workings of Speech League and I hope I can recruit some more members for next year,” said Padula.