Value Driven St. Joseph's Academy Includes Excellence in Speech And Debate
John Vullo's 15 member team captures CISL championship in 2012.
The girls of St. Joseph’s Academy don’t just win championships in basketball and swimming and other sports. They are a value driven school, and excel in all areas including theater, government, leadership, speech and debate. Just recently, the 15 members of John Vullo’s speech club won the St. Louis area Interscholastic Speech League (CISL) championships.
Everything was contested February 26 at Ursuline Academy in Kirkwood. The team was able to hoist the championship trophy over male rival St. Louis U. High. “I told the girls they could do this. Two years ago, we finished in third place, and last year we were second,” said Vullo, who in his sixth year teaches different units of speech and debate during the school day.
The interscholastic league features Catholic teams from around the region, the likes of Nerinx Hall, Cor Jesu Academy, St. Francis Borgia, Duchesne, Ursuline Academy, St. Joe, SLUH and others.
They hold three meets a year, and the fourth is the championship round. Ribbons go to individual winners and trophies to team champions.
The CISL categories are:
- humor and serious
- original story
“This is tough competition. The girls are in the room, alone with the judges. Parents and friends are not allowed. There are two rounds per meet, and this is like the World Series of speech,” said Vullo.
“Our girls are passionate about what they do with this. I know most of them are going on to be doctors or lawyers or serve their community, but this is a nice skill for them to have,” said their coach.
Here’s a sample of what team members had to say about being part of the team:
Trudy Wurm, junior
“I love to speak eloquently. I love to perform because we not only bring joy to ourselves but we are able to expand to the outer world.”
Mary Cate O’Brien, senior
“Everyone should take part in speaking (activities) sometime in their life. Speaking well in public is crucial to all career paths. I welcome the opportunity to speak in front of big crowds. Everyone should be able to do that.”
Casey Bertelsman, junior
“It seemed like things went really well this year. I personally felt good about my own speech development. We wanted to show what we could do and the best part was going out and beating SLUH.”
Rossella Gabrielle, freshman
Coming from Incarnate Word Elementary she looked at it this way. “Taking part in this really helped me to become welcomed to the St. Joseph’s school community. This is a way of creating lasting friendships and I like learning from Mr. Vullo, he’s the funniest, liveliest teacher in our school.”
Sarah Raney, junior
“I learned how to take important issues and present them in a new light. My speech topic was (community) service and while most speeches are based on la lot of statistics mine was different. It’s just feels good to push the envelope some times.”
Katie Hayes, sophomore
“We had a great year and I just wanted the team to do well. Winning the big trophy was exciting. We were just yelling and screaming.”