Warwick student stars in debate contest
A Warwick Academy student has won a spot at the world championships for public speaking after a star performance in a contest in the United States.
McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett, 16, claimed third place in the dramatic interpretation category of the International Independent Schools Public Speaking Competition in Massachusetts this month.
It means she has qualified for the World Individual Debate and Public Speaking Championships next April in Shanghai, China.
McKenzie-Kohl, an International Baccalaureate student, told The Royal Gazette: “I really enjoy public speaking, and having the opportunity to compete against some of the best public speaking students from around the world was awesome.
“It’s also really nice to meet new people with whom you share a common interest, like public speaking.
“Even though we were all at IISPSC to compete against each other, you wouldn’t believe the camaraderie and the friendships that develop.
“I have new friends in the US, Canada, South Africa and India.”
The competition, which included 170 students from across the globe, was hosted by the Hotchkiss School and Buckingham, Browne & Nichols in Cambridge, from October 31 to November 3.
McKenzie-Kohl performed a monologue titled The Care and Feeding of Baby Birds, by Ann Wuehler.
She said: “While I felt that my performance in each round was solid, all of the competitors were just so good.
“I went into the competition feeling like I had prepared as best as I could, and I finished each round feeling like I had done my best.
“An even better feeling was hearing my name called for finals, and then placing. I’m just so happy. I still can’t believe it.”
McKenzie-Kohl, a former Bermuda Youth Premier, was first introduced to public speaking and debate three years ago, when she joined Warwick Academy’s public speaking and debate club.
Since then, she has participated in competitions locally and abroad, including the World Individual Debate and Public Speaking Championships in Canada last year.
She added: “My advice to young people who may be considering taking up public speaking would be to go for it.
“Even if not to compete, but instead to build confidence, improve communication skills, network and meet new people. I would be more than happy to share my experiences with anyone who is undecided.”
• To read the monologue by Ann Wuehler performed by McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett, click on the PDF under “Related Media”
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