The Drama Club and the South Carolina Speech and Debate Team of Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School competed for the first time in three years and brought home trophies in several events.

The students and their coach, Angela Williams, traveled to Greenville for two recent tournaments. At Maudlin High School on Nov. 11, three students placed in various events: Eric Tyler won third place in Humorous Interpretation; Anayia Whaley won second place in Impromptu Speaking; and Latifah Busby received third place in Humorous Interpretation.

In addition, the group competed at Riverside High School the previous week where they also took home awards. Four students won in various events: Jas Shuler took home first place in Impromptu Speaking; Eric Tyler won third place in two events, Humorous Interpretation and Novice Reading; Anayia Whaley won third place in Impromptu Speaking; and Rohit Swain won second place in Congressional Debate. Other members of the team are Christian Ihekweazu, Anavami Isa, Makeria Moore, Kenicka Harvin, Melinda Baughman and Theophilus Pedapolu.

All the students have earned enough points to become members of the South Carolina Speech and Debate Association. Upon completion of 25 points, the students will become members of the National Forensics League, where they will join the ranks of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, media visionaries Oprah Winfrey and Ted Turner, actors Brad Pitt and Renee Zellweger and television personalities Stephen Colbert and Tom Lennon, who are all members.

“No matter a student’s planned career field, effective communication skills are crucial,” Williams said. “Speech and debate prepares students for college, careers and life.”

The group plans to travel to Stall High School on Dec. 11. In addition, they are planning an outreach workshop for middle school students interested in speech and debate.