The Wilson Middle School Speech Team competed at the Stanford National High School Invitational in February.
Bill Turner, head coach for the team, said the Stanford competition was the most difficult tournament on the team’s schedule. “It was a high school tournament with 245 participating schools,” Turner stated.
The team competed in six events. Even with the stiff competition, the Wilson Speech Team had three students advance to the quarter finals in impromptu speaking. In impromptu speaking students are given a word, phrase, quotation or object and have two minutes to prepare a five-minute speech.
Wilson’s three quarter finalists were team captain Hahna Song, Samanntha Eastton and Mandy Guire, all eighth-grade students.
The other students from Wilson who participated at Stanford were Daneli Santillan, Waleed Escheik, Candance Parsons and Daniela Villanueva.
“It was a great opportunity for our students to compete against the nation’s top high school programs and excel,” Turner said. “The team also had a great opportunity to spend time at Stanford University.”
Turner said the Stanford Invitational was a 14-hour competition, which is tough for anyone. “I was inspired by team captain Song,” he said. “She walked around and encouraged her teammates, telling them that these long days is what it takes, and the longer we stay, the better we did.”
Song was excited that she advanced at Stanford, which is her dream college. “It was a once in a lifetime experience and I was proud of my teammates who work hard each and every day,” Song said.
Turner commended Eastton for having one of the strongest work ethics he has ever seen as a coach. “She never stops trying to improve,” he said. “It is great to see that effort rewarded.”
Eastton said she appreciates the opportunity to compete. “It is what I love to do,” she said.
Guire said, “I still can’t believe I advanced at a high school tournament at such a great university.” But Turner said he knew it was only a matter of time before everyone recognized how talented Guire is.
“Wilson’s speech program has a proud tradition and these kids have added to that legacy,” Turner stated.
Four students on this year’s team, Song, Guire, Eastton and Santillan, are eligible to compete in the Middle School National Speech Championship, which will be held in Birmingham, Ala., in June.
“I am excited at the prospect of taking this team to nationals,” said Coach Turner. “It seems like a perfect conclusion to what has seemed like a perfect year.”
The team will compete this weekend at the Mustang Invitational in Fullerton.