Sacred Heart Forensics Students Earn National Recognition

Imagine an 11-month season with tournaments almost every weekend. Practice is weekly as a group and then several days on your own.  Your weekend is one long tournament over two days. If you have a good tournament, the last day could be over 12+ hours with 4 rounds, then semi-finals and then finals. Now imagine competing completely by yourself or maybe with a partner for up to 10 minutes at a time with someone judging your every movement, your every vocal nuance and your every line. For students who participate on the Sacred Heart Forensics Team, they do not have to imagine, as this is their reality throughout the school year and beyond. And five of these students were just recognized for their achievements.

Madison Alliston, Nyah Jordan, Cameron Miller, Sarah Berry Pierce and Alex Wade, all current juniors at Sacred Heart High School, each received the 2017 Academic All-American Award from the National Speech and Debate Association. The Academic All-American award recognizes the outstanding achievements of students with excellent academic performance, continued success in speech and debate competition, and personal excellence in leadership and character. Less than one percent of speech and debate students nationwide receive this prestigious award.  Students have to earn the degree of Superior Distinction (750 points); complete at least 5 semesters of high school; demonstrate outstanding character and leadership; and earn a GPA of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale.

All five of these students have participated in speech, debate and mock trial competitions during their high school years. They have represented the Hattiesburg area at the Mississippi High School Activities Association State Championships, placed in final rounds in numerous tournaments statewide, and placed in final rounds in tournaments across the country. “These students were part of my first junior high team—I’ve been with them since 7th grade. They are so deserving of this recognition,” says their coach, Ms. Monica Salda. In the upcoming months, these students will be attending up to four national tournaments in Kansas City, Missouri; Hartford, Connecticut; Louisville, Kentucky; and Birmingham, Alabama.

According to Headmaster Brian McCrory, “These students represent what is the best about Sacred Heart.  Achieving this goal took ambition, dedication, and a lot of their own personal time. They are leaders at our school and excel academically. All of us here are proud of these students. They embody our code of ‘Faith, Respect and Honor.’”