D97 Middle School Speech Team Earns Back-to-Back Wins at West 40 Speech and Drama Festival

On Saturday, Feb. 24, the District 97 Middle School Speech Team earned first place at the West 40 Speech and Drama Festival hosted at Elmwood Park High School. The speech team had earned a first place trophy for 10 consecutive years prior to the pandemic, and their streak continues with two consecutive post-pandemic wins.

Each contestant is evaluated based on a rubric, with the opportunity to earn individual honors for first or second place in their respective events. Of the 11 events the team participated in, they earned 10 first-place ribbons, and 1 second-place ribbon. In six of their events, they received perfect scores! The district that has the most first-place wins in individual events earns the team trophy.

This talented team was made up of the following students and coaches from Brooks and Julian Middle Schools:

Brooks Speech Team
Izzy Avrushin
Fizz Bell
Natalie Madeja 
Aminah Mbange 
Clare Newton 
Nene Nwafo 
Frida Siegel 
Penny Walski 
Sean Ward
Hazel Williams

Pam Gaffney
Sarah Perros

Julian Speech Team
Aria Ames
Em Belmont
Cody Boucher
Thomas Dannenberg
Ajani Donsumu
Aura Durst
Will Frangos
Theo Harris
Josie Hill
Tate Martin
Tori Najera
Julia Preston
Jaelynn Segura
Nikhil Sholar
Sabrina Stromberg
Jeanette Zort

Jen Baldassare
John Beck
John Colucci
Bill McGlynn
Bessie Santos