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Lafayette Parish School System

Ovey Comeaux High School Speech Team Wins Big at International Championship

Picture of Coach Jacob Simon and students Kylan Williams, Peyton Poole, and Jarkeylon Ismail  attached.

Last week, the Ovey Comeaux High School Speech Team competed at the National Speech and Debate Association International Championships in Louisville, Kentucky. The competitions began with the top 300 students from around the world, who previously qualified to compete at the district and state levels. To advance to the final round of a main stage event (final 6) is the highest honor in speech and debate, and one of the highest academic achievements. For finals, the students performed on stage in front of a 4,000 person audience during an internationally live-streamed event.

The Ovey Comeaux High Speech Team had three students reach the final rounds of main stage events, more than any other competing school. Junior Kylan Williams placed 3rd Internationally in Dramatic Interpretation, winning a $1,000 scholarship. This competition was Kylan’s third time competing in a speech tournament, and this win is an impressive feat for a beginner competing in a world final. Senior Peyton Poole placed 2nd Internationally in Dramatic Interpretation, also bringing home a $1,000 scholarship. It is unprecedented for one school to have two finalists in a single category competition. 

Junior Jarkeylon Ismail is the 2022 International Champion in Program Oral Interpretation (POI). For this competition, students take segments from various poetry, prose, drama, articles, and research to make a performance that revolves around a particular argumentative message. Jarkeylon won a $2,000 scholarship and automatically qualified for next year’s championship in Phoenix, Arizona. 

The team also won the National Speech and Debate Association Speech Team of Excellence Sweepstakes Award for ranking in the top 20 out of over 1,800 teams in competition from across the globe.

The National Speech and Debate Association International Championship is the largest Speech and Debate Tournament in the world, and one of the largest academic competitions with 5,000 students from 1,800 schools, representing over 16 different countries.

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