CDS Orators Shine at North Mecklenberg Tournament
Posted 10/17/2017 11:48AM

Carolina Day School (CDS) took home two of the top six awards in original oratory at the Viking Classic speech and debate tournament held North Mecklenberg High School in Charlotte, NC. Nearly 400 students from across the Carolinas gathered to compete at the tournament. Representing CDS were Ras Andry '20, Ellie Cross '20, Dylan Dunn '20, Benjamin Goodrum '20, Murphy Kalil '20, Thomas McCullough '20, Alex Schultz ’20, Westray Keeler ’21, and Cecilia Thompson ’21. Upper School teacher and coach Mark Wonnacott also accompanied the team.

Westray and Cecilia competed in original oratory, an event where students prepare, memorize, and deliver a 10-minute speech on a topic of their choosing. Cecilia’s speech, “We’re Not That Different,” is a personal, introspective look at the divisiveness of modern society. After a bit of a rocky start, she finished strong, earning podium recognition for a sixth-place finish among other first-time competitors. “I was nervous at first, but I feel like I got better every time I did my speech,” Cecilia said of her performance.

Westray’s speech, a passionate defense of youth political activism and engagement, came out of the gate swinging. Her fiery resistance to being labeled a lazy teenager impressed her judges in all four rounds. Her performance was good for a third-place finish among first-time competitors. “All the practice and work I’d put into my speech just kind of clicked,” said Westray after the tournament.

On the debate side of the tournament, CDS fielded seven first-time competitors. Ellie, the lone veteran on the squad, came back from two tough early losses to finish with an even record. Ellie’s affirmative argument, that national service should be mandatory in high schools, caught many of her opponents off guard. Benjamin, in his first ever debate, took home a pair of wins as well. His winning strategy was walking proponents of civil disobedience down a slippery slope to anarchy. “We were certainly competitive across the board. I’m very proud of the mental toughness of these young rhetoricians,” said Mr. Wonnacott of the team’s performance.

The team next competes at the Bob Jones Academy tournament in Greenville, SC.

For information about the team, please contact Mark Wonnacott at

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