Holy Redeemer High School recently hosted the Pennsylvania High School Speech League (PHSSL) District 8 state qualifying tournament. Students from 15 schools throughout northeastern Pennsylvania competed in 12 events to select participants for the PHSSL state championship tournament to be held at Susquehanna University in March. The top two finishers in each event qualified for the state tourney, with third-place finishers selected as alternates.

Holy Redeemer senior Brianna Scorey was named district champion in Persuasive Speaking, a speech that is prepared in advance and designed to influence thinking and beliefs. Brianna’s speech focused on the culture of rape and the need to change society’s perceptions and behaviors.

Freshman Thalia Charles was awarded second place in Commentary, a speech that expresses a view on an issue of political or social significance and is researched and prepared in 30 minutes. Commentary may be as long as seven minutes.

Jerome Hannon and Maddison Black finished third in Dramatic Duo, Maria Khoudary placed third in Dramatic Interpretation, and Maria Strish and Nial Vender placed third in Policy Debate. All qualify as alternates to the state tournament.

Jerome, Maria, and Gaetano Buonsante will also compete in the state tournament open events of radio announcing, impromptu speaking, and student congress, respectively.

Shown are Holy Redeemer tournament participants, first row, from left: Nial Vender, Forty Fort; Isabel Panganiban, Edwardsville; Thalia Charles, Wilkes-Barre; Briana Scorey, Wilkes-Barre; Mesa Ashton, Wilkes-Barre; Mackenzie Byers, Wilkes-Barre; Katarina Solovey, Plains; Gaetano Buonsante, Exeter.

Second row: Ciaran Burke, Wilkes-Barre; Marley Mullery, Hanover Twp.; Maria Strish Mountaintop; Nicholas Lutz, Wikes-Barre; Jerome Hannon, Wilkes-Barre; Maddison Black, Plains; Maria Khoudary, Dallas.