Brynn Jones, a rising senior at Murray High School, traveled to Sacramento, California, with other qualifying students for the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament and she returned to Murray as the National Champion in Original Oratory. She and her coach Michael Robinson speak with Tracy Ross on Sounds Good about what it took to bring home the win.
Brynn has always loved to write and present her ideas and discovered she had an aptitude for oratory when she began competing in speech competitions. For this year’s round of competitions, she wrote a speech about the danger of linguistic elitism in reference to the way young people speak. Brynn says both writing the speech and presenting it proved challenging.
“It’s difficult to create a speech that captures everything you want to say but still be under the time limit. And then when it kept progressing, when more people were following me and coming up afterwards to talk to me, it was getting more and more difficult to present it,” Brynn said.
Brynn has competed in the national finals twice before. Murray High School speech coach Michael Robinson says Brynn always looks forward to additional challenges. Brynn recalls a time she was confronted with the challenge of a noisy competition hall.
“We had this giant conference hall and there were two categories. So, sixteen rooms of six [people] all in one room divided into cubicles with curtains,” Brynn said. “So we could all, very clearly, hear each other. I could hear kids, like, screaming in other categories across the conference center. So I had to make sure that I could be heard without screaming at the judges.”
Competitors come from 66 dioceses across the nation, Brynn says. Each diocese can send five or six students who make it through their local qualifying tournaments. Over 1,000 people competed in various categories at this year’s tournament in California.