Student heads to speech nationals

CHAMPION – Champion High School senior Kyle McGaughy, 18, recently took first place in the United States Extemporaneous Speaking at the Northern Ohio District qualifying tournament.

The success at that tournament held this month in Boardman has earned him a spot competing at the National Forensic League Speech and Debate Tournament in Birmingham, Ala., June 16-21.

McGaughy bettered more than 35 competitors from the Youngstown district which consists of speech and debate programs from Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties.

Over a two-day period, McGaughy survived seven elimination rounds of competition. In the final round, McGaughy defeated four other speakers, including a previous national qualifier, to be recognized as the Northern Ohio District champion.

Jim Sheldon, speech head coach and an English teacher, said only those competitors ranking first in the final rounds of each individual event are awarded “this prestigious honor.”

McGaughy is a three-year member of the school’s speech and debate team and its current president.

Sheldon said McCaughy is the first and only national qualifier from Champion High School that he has coached. He said the national tournament will have 200 competitors from across the nation.

McGaughy said the extemporaneous category has no specific topic.

“You don’t arrive at the tournament knowing what you are going to talk about. Instead, for each round you do a different speech by drawing three questions and you pick which one you want to answer,” he said.

Each competitor had 30 minutes to prepare and memorize a seven-minute speech on topics ranging from economics, foreign policy, cabinet member nominees and domestic political affairs.

McGaughy said his seventh speech for the final round which gave him first place was “Should President Obama priortize deficit reduction or job growth?”

He is the son of Bob and Billie Jo McCaughy and plans to study chemical engineering and chemistry in college.