LEXINGTON — Every year, students from across the Commonwealth gather at KESDA in Lexington with the dream of taking home a first place medal for their performing and public speaking talents. The competition is fierce, with rural schools in the mix alongside larger districts, such as Louisville, Lexington and Northern Kentucky. This year, the championship medal for storytelling came home to Hazard, thanks to Brady Adams, an eighth grade student at East Perry Elementary.
KESDA is an acronym for the Kentucky Educational Speech and Drama Association. Contestants can enter the tournament in several different dramatic and forensic categories. Over the course of a weekend, those contestants perform in front of judges. In each round, some advance, whereas most are eliminated. On the last day, only six competitors remain in each category. Those six face-off in the final round for the first place medal.
Brady Adams secured the storytelling championship with his rendition of “Soldier And Death” by Anthony Mangella. The competition took place from March 9 through March 11. In order to win, Adams had to beat other competitors, who had previously won national tournaments.
“It’s a surreal moment to see a student’s hard work and dedication materialize on such a large stage when you know they have dedicated so much time and effort,” said East Perry’s Speech coach Kaitlyn Kelly.
As if a championship medal alone was not enough, Adams also went on to final in other categories too, alongside his talented teammates. The East Perry team, as a whole, made an impressive run.
Jacob Butler and Jazmen Fugate semi-finaled in Duo Improvisation. Sheridan Combs placed 5th in Impromptu Speaking and 4th in Declamation. Group Interpretation, which included Ryann Brashear, Jazmen Fugate, Kinnley Johnson, Sheridan Combs and Brady Adams placed 3rd. Brady Adams and Kinnley Johnson placed 4th in Duo Improvisation. Keep in mind, when the term “placed” is used here, it means that is where they finished in competition against the rest of the entire state.
The team would like to thank Mr. McIntyre and all of East Perry’s staff and faculty for their support along with Superintendent Jonathan Jett and many community members, such as Scott Alexander and Principal Paula Boggs.
The team includes Libby Doll, Jacob Butler, Brady Adams, Sheridan Combs, Ryann Brashear, Jazmen Fugate, and Kinnley Johnson. The team is coached by Kaitlyn Kelly, who is a third grade teacher at East Perry.
East Perry’s Speech team will also compete at the KHSSL competition on March 24th and 25th.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.