Grad competes at national speech event

CHAMPION – The first Champion High School student to ever make it to a national speech tournament advanced to the top 60 at the event before elimination rounds.

Kyle McGaughy, a 2013 CHS graduate, competed in June at the U.S. Extemporaneous National Speech and Debate Competition held in Birmingham, Ala., against 244 other contestants from 109 districts in extemporaneous speaking.

McGaughy, 18, son of Robert and Billie Jo McGaughy, plans to study chemical engineering at Ohio State University.

He competed in six preliminary round, which led from 244 to 60 competitors followed by two more rounds which narrowed down to 30 competitors when McGaughy was eliminated.

He placed 54th out of 244 competitors and received a certificate for himself and the high school.

Jim Sheldon, speech coach since 2007 at CHS, said this is the first time a Champion student has ever been to the national competition.

”I’m proud that Kyle was the first national qualifier from Champion,” he said.

Sheldon said he wants to see the continued growth of speech and debate in this area and hopes many schools in the area can still get involved with the program.

“It was enjoyable to be there. It was a serious atmosphere but also fun competition. I met and saw so many people with different speaking styles so I got to see different facets of speech and debate,” McGaughy said.

He said he was honored to be the first Champion student to ever make it to the event.

To qualify for the national event McGaughy placed fifth in the state tournament held in March as part of the Ohio High School Speech League.