Lancaster Qualifies for Grand National Speech Tournament


Melanie Weber

Walpole High School’s senior Tess Lancaster has qualified for the Grand National Speech Tournament for the second year in a row, where she, along with five other students, will represent Massachusetts in Sacramento, California.

“Tess amazes me; not only is she naturally talented as a speaker and actress, but she works really hard on her own to perfect her pieces. She is versatile and can pull off both comedic and dramatic readings very well,” said Speech Team Coach Emily Murray.

This year, Lancaster will be competing in Oral Interpretation, an event comprised of poetry and prose reading. Throughout the season, Lancaster also competed in Duo Interpretation alongside Senior Eileen Cooney.

Lancaster also made it to the National Tournament last year, and despite it being her first time, she reached the Octo Finals—the top 48 contestants in the Oral Interpretation group. This year, Lancaster has completed extra practice, and she has been practicing since October, so she feels much more prepared.

“I think this year I certainly have much more experience in dealing with bigger competitions, and I also have a greater feeling of confidence while performing,” said Lancaster.

The tournament will be taking place over Memorial Day weekend, and Lancaster is excited not only for the competition itself, but also for the chance to meet with other contestants.

“The experience in itself is amazing, for students from many different states attend, but being recognized in front of people that share the same passions that I have would be a dream come true.  I hope Nationals is as well run as it was last year and that I get the opportunity to connect with the different types of competitors,” she said.