Travel trouble does not prevail


Mara Kim, Reporter

Senior Pierce McDade has made many accomplishments through his high school career. Becoming class president, then student body president is just one of many. McDade has been involved with school speech and debate since his summer of eighth grade. During winter break 2022, McDade, Speech coach and English teacher Brian Rohman, and Pierce’s father, Rob McDade, made their way to the Montgomery Bell Academy Extemp Round Robin in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Their plan was to fly out of Peoria. When they arrived they found out their plane was delayed twelve hours.This group’s biggest concern at this point was the plane being canceled after they waited twelve hours, then missing the tournament. 

“It ended up being a really good thing that Pierce’s dad wanted to come with us. He made the decision to get in the car and drive, so we started road tripping,” Rohman said. They hit the road with a plan to make it to Nashville,Tennessee around 4pm and beat the plane. 

“[It was a] pretty normal road trip, something we have been used to doing for speech and debate,” Rohman said.

Once they arrived Friday evening they went to a quick dinner with other students and teachers they would see the next morning. Saturday morning came and the three of them were up bright and early. 

McDade said he went into the tournament with no expectations.

“They only invited sixteen people from the nation so I really was just happy to be there in the first place,” McDade said. 

Over winter break, McDade prepared by doing a speech a day, this broke down to about an hour of each day. To prepare, McDade also filed articles and kept up to date with the news. 

“It was winter break before I went so I was mainly relaxing and I just went in wanting to have a good time,” McDade said.

McDade  competes in extemporaneous speaking in which participants draw three questions at the beginning of each round. These questions are usually politically or economically based. Competitors select one of the three questions then get thirty minutes with a computer to research and build a seven-minute speech. 

“I gave a whole variety of speeches, there are ten rounds,” McDade said. “[Topics cover] anywhere from South America drug trafficking routes to central bank digital currencies.”  

After all the efforts from over the past four years and trouble with transportation it was worth it in the end, the journey earned McDade the ranking of 12th in the nation, a memorable way to end his high school speech and debate career.