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Three MWHS Seniors Named to All-State Speech Team
Josh Nkhata, Merrick Gormley and Annika Wulf
April 29, 2021 — Seniors Josh Nkhata, Merrick Gormley and Annika Wulf have earned a spot on the Minnesota Speech Coaches Association (MSCA) All-State Speech Team. The students represent Mound Westonka’s first-ever inductees into the team, which includes 122 students from 53 different high schools across the state.
“Your dedication to this activity over the tenure of your time on the team has earned you all this well-deserved honor!” said Coach Rhys Jones. “As coaches, we all can attest to your merit in this activity, not just as speakers, but also leaders and role models to your team and community.”
The MSCA works closely with the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) in this activity: from proposing rule changes, to certifying and training judges, to new coach mentorships, to helping run the state tournament each year.
Jones explained that there is a rigorous set of criteria that must be met for a student to make the All-State Team. Since each of these speakers joined the MWHS team as eighth-graders, Jones had to go back through five years of records as part of the application process. In addition, he had to provide examples of their community engagement, and other examples where they have demonstrated the use of their speaking skills outside of speech. All three of these students exceeded this rigorous criteria.
“It has been an absolute pleasure watching this program build on its previous year's success with incredible students,” said Principal Mark McIlmoyle. “I am grateful that Merrick, Josh and Annika were some of those original students that helped build the foundation. Now, they are being recognized for their incredible success.”
The announcement of the All-State Team coincided with the MSHSL state speech tournament on April 23-24. Four MWHS speakers competed at that tournament, including Nkhata, Wulf, junior Seth Worden and senior Kate Moch. Nkhata advanced to the final round in Creative Expression, where he took second-place.
“All four of the students did a remarkable job just getting to state, where they were among the top 24 speakers in their categories this year from across the state,” said Jones.