Hinsdale Central forensics team earns top recognition

The Hinsdale Central Forensics Team was recognized as a School of Excellence in Speech following members performance at the National Speech Tournament. The team was also recognized as one of the top 20 speech programs in the country, placing seventh at the tournament hosted by the National Speech and Debate Association in Overland Park, Kansas.

“This is the highest honor a speech team can earn at a national level,” said Forensics Team Coach Paul Woods. “I know fellow Coaches Chris Wilbur and Susan Jaffe share my tremendous pride in our team and their performance. Our team really worked hard to achieve such remarkable results, competing in the largest academic competition in the world with over 3,000 students participating in this year’s contest.”

Highlights from the tournament include:

• Senior Yianni Kinnas being the national runner-up in Prose Reading.

• Nine students being named Speech Academic All-Americans: Laura Nelson, Vinay Basti, Yianni Kinnas, Dan Lastres, Shreya Rao, Gabrielle Roberts, Jing Gao, Divya Surabhi and Annie Cappetta.

• Seniors Laura Nelson and Vinay Basti earning the National Speech and Debate Association’s Degree of Premier Distinction, the highest level of honor the bestowed on students

• Senior Shreya Rao being a national semi-finalist in Extemporaneous Commentary and placing seventh in the country.

• Junior Steven Chun was a national quarter-finalist in U.S. Extemporaneous Speaking.

• Seniors Dan Lastres and Vinay Basti being national quarter-finalists in Oratory

• Senior Spencer Wawak placing in the top 60 in Dramatic Interpretation.

• Senior Shreya Rao placing in the top 60 in International Extemporaneous Speaking

• Senior Annie Cappetta placing in the top 60 in United States Extemporaneous Speaking.

• Assistant coach Chris Wilbur being named as a Diamond Coach by the National Speech and Debate Association.

• Senior Laura Nelson being named the Illini District Student of the Year and one of about 70 students in the running for National Student of the Year.