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Morgan Paoli, RMHS Speech Team Captain, is heading to Nationals this summer

After a season unlike any other, senior Speech Team Captain Morgan Paoli recently qualified to compete on the National stage this summer. Paoli placed second in the Program Oral Interpretation event at Northern Illinois District Speech Tournament, securing her place in the National Competition. 

Paoli spent the past six months practicing online with coaches Mary Luckritz and Mike Concialdi and most of her Saturdays participating in online tournaments. Paoli would practice her piece in front of a camera and then review and adjust her performance with her coaches. After tournaments, written feedback from judges would then frame practices with coaches.

Although the season didn’t look like it normally does, Paoli still managed to have a positive experience and outlook.

“Though I do miss being in person and having our typical speech traditions, it was still a great season and definitely my most memorable,” Paoli said.

Paoli’s success, however, is not just the result of this season’s work; her success comes after years of hard work.

“Obviously, [Paoli’s] ability has increased exponentially over the course of her career,” Speech Coach Mike Concialdi said. “Just being on the team for four years has given her insight into how to improve, not only through practicing with coaches, but even at tournaments. She always watches final rounds in which she isn't a competitor and has been able to take away things from others' performances and incorporate them into her own performance.” 

Even though this is a goal that Paoli has been working toward for years, her success still came as a bit of a surprise.

“I never expected this win or to qualify for nationals, but it feels great,” Paoli said. “As a team, we put in so much work throughout the season to get better for every tournament. This accomplishment is the culmination of an entire season’s work and an achievement I have been reaching for since freshman year.”