Speech team wins States

By Denebola
Published: April 2008

By News Staff

For the first time in its 10-year history, the Newton South Speech Team won first place at the Massachusetts Forensics League State Speech Championships.
Newton South received 247 “sweepstakes points, beating out Natick High School by 15 points.  While Speech and Debate tournaments are mostly individual competitions, sweepstake points are awarded to the teams depending on how well their members did.
Strong showings by all team members, as well as three first-place finishes, led to South’s victory.
Speech Team coach and Newton South math teacher Lisa Honeyman was extremely proud of all of her team’s triumph. She was running the tournament and knew the results before her team members. Still, she said it was “really exciting anticipating the team’s reaction as the final standings were announced.
Three team members proved themselves to be the best in the state at their event. Senior Justine Lassar received first in Dramatic Interpretation, junior Christina Amendola won Poetry Reading in a very close contest, and junior Alex Brodsky soundly beat the competition in Prose Reading.
In addition to these three champions, two members finished second, three finished third, and one each finished fourth, fifth, and sixth.
The team has seven graduating seniors this year. While Honeyman is sad to see so many highly accomplished team members graduate, she knows the team will continue to be strong.
“[The seniors] have done a great job peer coaching younger team members and this is why I have no doubt that the team will continue to find success even after this group of seniors graduates, she said.
Several of the graduating seniors reflected on the role Speech Team has played in their high school experience.
“It has been the defining factor of my high school experience, team captain Justine Lassar said. More than academics, she said, “it is my high school.
Lassar also praised Honeyman as a coach, describing her as a “fabulous leader.
“She is the most organized, with it, together coach ever, she said.
Senior captain Stephanie Lee recounted how Speech Team gave her both a topic for her college interview and the confidence in speaking that made it go well.
“Everyone should learn to do some sort of public performance sometime in their life, she said.
While State Speech Championships mark the end of the local Speech season, for some the tournaments are not over. 13 team members will compete at the Catholic Forensic League Nationals in Appleton, Wisconsin and four will compete at the National Forensic League Nationals in Las Vegas in June.

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