Speech students place nationally: A first in many years for any Indianapolis-area school

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Members of the Noblesville High School speech team, MillerSpeech, competed in the national speech finals in Birmingham, Ala., earlier this year, earning two national placements.

This summer, more than 4,000 students from across the nation competed in this year’s tournament. This was the fifth consecutive year NHS students qualified to participate.

Jack Vastag and Abigail VanMeter are Noblesville’s first national finalists in team history, with Vastag placing second in the nation in Extemporaneous Commentary, besting nearly 250 competitors, and VanMeter placing fifth in the nation in Informative Speaking. VanMeter also bested nearly 250 competitors and earned high praise from her panel of 47 judges across 13 rounds of competition.

This is the first time in many years that any Indianapolis-area students have won top placing. Two Ben Davis students also placed in this year’s competition.

MillerSpeech overall earned its first School of Honor commendation, recognizing NHS’s speech program among the Top 40 in the nation out of nearly 3,200 nationally registered high school programs.

Noblesville’s national competitors were MaryClare Burch (Humorous Interpretation), Ben Elliott (World Schools Debate), Madeline Backs (Program Oral Interpretation), Vastag (Extemporaneous Speaking) and VanMeter (Informative Speaking).

The team, coached by Jeremy Starks, Chase Elliott, Joe Peculis and Evan Elliott, also placed fifth overall at the 2017 Indiana High School Forensics Association State Tournament in March.


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