The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

Speech Team has something to say

Matthew Malloy ‘25
The Speech Team practices in the Incubator Lab every Wednesday after school.

Have you ever frozen up while giving a speech? Ever been nervous having the attention of every single person in a room? 

At MC, a small group of intelligent upperclassmen has chosen to directly face these nerves. MC has had a Speech Team for years and the current group is building off of that history.

With their new coach, Mr. KC Perlberg, members are preparing for upcoming events in new strategic and constructive ways. They meet three to four times a week and are currently focused on their first event of the year taking place on Saturday, November 4th, at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island. 

A lot more students have joined the team this year than in years past. They all bring their own specific skill sets which provide for a new type of team that Aiden Correa ’25 has never seen before.

“Three years ago there was only one member on the team,” said Correa, who has been on the Speech Team each of his three years at MC. “My freshman year we wouldn’t rank very high in the events because of the low number of kids we had.”

Over the past three years, Correa has recruited some of his classmates to join the team. Other members include seniors Naath Kulatunga and Jack Breakey, as well as juniors Leonard Siegal, Jason Isais, and Dominic Mancilla.

(left to right) Juniors Aiden Correa, Jason Isais, and Dominic Mancilla have been working on their speeches since the beginning of the school year. (Matthew Malloy ‘25)

The scoring for these tournaments is unique in that there is no objective point system like one would see in football or basketball. When someone gives a speech, it could be scored in different ways. One judge could love the speech while another wouldn’t think highly of it. It’s up to the judges to interpret a speech and personal experience and bias could potentially play a role in this. 

What also makes competition  unique is that not every school has the same amount of students participating. There are twelve categories–Dramatic/Humorous – Duet Acting, Dramatic/Humorous – Interpretation, Exempt Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, Informative Speaking, Radio, Oratorical Declamation, Original Comedy, Special Occasion Speaking, Poetry Reading, Original Oratory, and Pro Reading–and only six MC team members currently.    

Correa and Breakey compete in Informative Speaking, Isais competes in Oratorical Declamation, Siegal competes in Original Oratory, Mancilla competes in Impromptu Speaking, and Kulatunga competes in Radio.

At a tournament, each category has three rounds. Each round has a different judge, but the participant still gives the same speech for each separate judge. These judges rank these participants and their speeches on a scale from one to six, with one being the best. 

After three rounds, a participant must have been ranked high enough to make the finals. It depends from tournament to tournament on how many people make the finals, but it’s usually around ten.

Due to the way this ranking system is set up, schools have a better chance at having a member make the finals if they split up across the twelve categories. 

Being a small team has its disadvantages when it comes to rankings, but Mr. Perlberg has an optimistic approach to their situation. 

“This is such an individual activity that’s done in a team setting,” said Mr. Perlberg. “I would rather have one kid in an event than one hundred.”

Speech is not that different from a sport like track and field or cross country. While the entire team might not qualify to make it down to state, an individual can for their respective category. 

“What I like about having a smaller team is that we can really focus on the specifics of one guy’s performance or habits,” said Mr. Perlberg. “We can craft each other’s work and take our time. It’s an opportunity that some other schools might not have.”

The great thing about speech is how flexible it is. From comedy to argumentative speeches, there’s really something for every student. Most current members were drawn to the team because of this. 

“I didn’t make the basketball team my freshman year so I was looking for something else to do,” said Correa. “One day Leonard Siegal told me about the Speech Team and it sounded like fun because I could write and talk about things I’m interested in.”

As Correa and the other members prepare their speeches, Mr. Perlberg is getting ready for the tournaments they have throughout this school year. 

“I’m excited to see how some of our leaders come out of the gate,” said Mr. Perlberg. “We have a team full of talent and skill. I’m not so concerned about what happens really early on, but I’m definitely interested in how we improve from tournament one to tournament two.” 

The Caravan will be out at Eisenhower early this Saturday to show off the work they’ve put in since August. 

“This team has improved my high school experience,” said Isais, who is in his second year on the team. “I’m excited to come back strong this year.”

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About the Contributor
Matthew Malloy ‘25
Matthew Malloy ‘25, Staff Writer
Matthew Malloy is a junior at Mount Carmel High School. He resides in the Southside of Chicago in the Beverly neighborhood and attended St. John Fisher Elementary School. Matt is currently a member of the student council, The Merchant, varsity golf team, varsity volleyball team, and the Caravan Media Group in which he is the play by play announcer for all home football and basketball games. As for academics, Matt is in the top 10 for the class of 2025. He first gained interest for journalism by watching ESPN’s College GameDay and reading The Beverly Review. His favorite sports commentators are Dick Vitale, Gus Johnson, Ray Clay, and Jim Nantz. As for favorite sports teams, Matt likes the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Manchester United F.C., Chicago Bears, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and his favorite golfers are John Daly, Bryson DeChambeau, and Collin Morikawa. His favorite band is the Red Hot Chili Peppers and his favorite album is The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. Matt’s favorite movies are Goodfellas and Asteroid City while The Office, Freaks and Geeks, and Friday Night Lights are his favorite TV shows. He and his cousins are continuing the tradition and legacy of the O’Connor family at Mount Carmel as he is the nephew of Dan O’Connor ‘95 and grandson of Frank O’Connor ‘61 and Kathy O’Connor, who works in the spirit store and is an avid supporter of Mount Carmel.