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MPISD – News

Speech State Minter & Cowan—Minter and Cowan pose with their state medals in front of the tower at The University of Texas at Austin

Speech state Cowan State Champion

Speech State Minter

Speech State Minter Morris Cowan—Minter and Cowan with the MPHS Speech and Debate Coach, Cody Morris

MPHS freshman claims the state championship

The end of May was a series of firsts for the Mount Pleasant High School Speech and Debate team…the first time to qualify for state in speech events, the first time to medal in those events, and the first time to claim a state championship. Team members Ja’Quacy Minter and Connelly Cowan traveled to Austin on May 28th to compete in the State Speech Meet on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. In the end, Cowan, a freshman, was named the 5A State Champion in Informative Extemporaneous Speaking while Minter, a graduate just four days prior, earned a 6th place medal in Poetry Interpretation.

Minter and Cowan had to advance out of both District and Regionals to earn their spots at the state meet. Minter was named the District Champion for the second consecutive year and then went on to claim the Regional Championship. Cowan placed 3rd at both the District and Regional meets. In both events, only twelve competitors in 5A across the state make it to Austin, an amazing accomplishment all by itself.

From the UIL Prose and Poetry Handbook, “The earliest interpretation event, ‘declamation,’ began in 1911 as the second oldest contest sponsored by UIL. It consisted of delivering published orations which promoted good citizenship, involved a story or event about the ‘making of America,’ or commemorated Texas heroes, history, and progress. These orations were delivered from memory. Not until 1950 was poetry a separate event in the UIL program, and not until 1959 was a manuscript required during the presentation. In 1961, declamation became prose interpretation, and for the first time, a list of five poets and five writers was prescribed by the League office.

Minter performed People You May Know from Category B, “Taking a Stand” in prelims and placed 3rd in his room to advance to the finals on day 2. In the final round, he performed What’s Genocide from Category A, “Examining Our Changing World” to earn his 6th place state ranking.

“State was an amazing experience,” said Minter. “After months of fighting to get to that one moment, it was exactly the experience I was dreaming of.”

In Informative Extemporaneous Speaking, contestants draw five topics, select one, and have thirty minutes to prepare an informative speech on the chosen topic. Topics are based on current news events and include state, national, and international levels selected from the general areas of political, social, economic, educational and cultural interests. The time limit for oral speech is seven minutes maximum. Cowan spoke on the topic “What has the Texas legislature accomplished during its current session?” in round one and placed 2nd in her room to advance to day 2. In finals, she spoke on “What steps are health officials taking to halt the spread of measles in the United States?” to claim the 5A state championship.

“Going to state in extemp was just recently a dream of mine,” said Cowan. “I never really liked extemp until this past January when my coach began pushing me to reach my full potential. I then began working hard and giving tons of practice speeches in hopes of making it to the state meet.”

Cowan continued, “Winning state was a complete shock. I was just happy to be there! It showed me that there is no limit to what I can do when I decide to work for it. I will always be grateful to Coach Morris for instilling confidence in me and practicing relentlessly with me.”

Minter and Cowan, along with teammates Taryn Thurman and Reid Pinckard, will wrap up the year at the NSDA National Tournament in Dallas starting on June 16th. They are coached by Cody Morris.


Mt. Pleasant High School
6th Six Weeks

All “A” Honor Roll

9th Grade
Odalys Adame, Aachal Amin, Rossy Banegas, Giselle Barrientos, Michelle Calderon, Henry Chappell III, Parker Colley, Connelly Cowan, Eduardo Espinoza, Jenny Flores, Kristin Gonzalez, Mary Kait Heeren, Taylor Hubbs, Christian Jaimes, Mackenzie Lide, Mauricio Martinez Hercules, Leslie Moreno, Katherine Ochoa, Rosa Ojeda, Luiz Olvera, Abril Ramirez, Monserrat Rivero Sanchez, Guillermo Sanchez-Medina, Sam Sloan, Keller Thompson, Matthew Tucker, Alondra Valenzuela Huerta, Kurion Walker, Anna Claire Wall, Lili Wu

10th Grade
Madison Adams, Megan Adams, Jalissa Alvarez, Ashleigh Amerson, Aunesti Brannon, Lily Burrows, Saide Carrillo, Desline Chavez, Mya Clark, Victor Diaz, Maiko Estrada, Caleb Finigan, Isabella Greco, Bre’Asia Hargrave, Anna Harris, Nia Jackson, Naydelin Martinez, Reid Pinckard, Sashi Poudel, Alejandra Ramirez, Jasper Reynolds, Maira Rocha, Jose Rodriguez, Meagan Rogers, Nicholas Segovia, Miguel Segura, Ryan Sharp, Taryn Thurman, Cristi Vazquez, Jaycee Woods

11th Grade
Lesly Atricso, Aaliya Avellaneda, Caleb Ball, Daisy Bautista, Jacqueline Bello, Javier Bello, Ashley Benyshek, Hailey Benyshek, Damajha Brannon, Noah Bristow, Ezbeyded Canales, Cassidy Carr, Shelby Courreges, Jesenia De La Cruz, Deyanira Delgado, David Garcia, Edwin Gonzalez, Jimmy Gonzalez Jr., Rylie Hardison, Vanesa Hernandez, Natalie Howard, Colby Hunnicutt, Krislynn Joseph, Jacqueline Juarez, Maggie Lilly, Savannah Mack, Jessly Martinez, Abigail Mason, Ally McCrumby, Felicity Miller, Megan Miller, David Nava, Baley O’Neal, Ariel Parr, Samuel Pearson, Israel Perez, Keyla Plancarte, Andrea Ramirez, Caroline Rose, Yessenia Serna, Gloria Vargas, Brooke Vaughn, Emily Walden

12th Grade
Armando Almendarez, Averie Ayers, David Barboza, Yessica Bernardino, Mallory Campbell, Audrey Courreges, Colton Craft, Nuvia De La Cruz, Jordan Dickerson, Taylor Dillard, Savannah Finigan, Paula Flores, Cessia Gonzalez, Carl Hinton, Laura Hochleitner, Lily Grace Jones, Annie Le, Jose Liera, Katherine Lopez, Samip Poudel, Martina Ramirez, Ezequiel Salazar, Alexus Sampson, Bailey Sisk, Kristopher Tejeda, Jaime Villarreal, Rebecca Yox


Mt. Pleasant Junior High School
6th Six Weeks
All “A” Honor Roll

7th grade
Genesis Aguilar, Hannah Anderson, Briana Chavez, Kaylee Connally, Ella Cross, Brianne Davis, Clinton Debord, Drew Dyke, Kennady Ebarb, Analee Escalante, John Freeman, Jose Fuentes, Estefani Garcia, Yahir Garcia, Ana Garrett, Briana Gonzales, Cesar Gonzalez, Martin Gonzalez, Sophie Greco, Owen Green, Angelina Hernandez, Stephanie Hernandez, Rocio Herrera, Caelyn Hills, Jillian Jetton, Raeleigh Jones, Cheyenne King, Silvia Lopez, Mason Majors, Jocelyn Marroquin, Jenna Mars, Nathaniel Martinez, Rosales Martinez, Yalit Mata, Braiden Merryman, Annie Munoz, Luke Muskrat, Thomas Nguyen, Jake Noble, Mckinsee Oviedo, Cecilia Phan, Landon Pinckard, Kiara Rundels, Enrique Serrano, Lolita Solis, Makayla Spigner, Sonia Sustaita, Diana Vargas, Harrison Wall, Jordan West, Beverly Zuniga

8th grade
Manoa Bagsic, Vanessa Bayna, Ava Bliss, Clayton Brison, Chloe Carter, Devin Castaneda, Omar Chavez, Juan Cigarroa, Roberto Cigarroa, Melanie De La Cruz, Norma Delgado, Christopher Escobar, Jackie Gonzalez, Miranda Gonzalez, Rylan Hubbs, Sara Jackson, Camdon Johnson, Jose Lopez, Samantha McClenan, Rosselyn Molina, Jesus Mora, Hiromi Parra, Daniela Perez, Madeline Plascencia, Param Poudel, Elijah Rider, Eric Taylor, Kaden Toon, Melissa Vasquez, Amy Vazquez, Javier Vazquez

P.E. Wallace Middle School
Sixth Six weeks “A” Honor Roll

Fifth Grade: Brissia Alvarez, Alberto Avila, Joshua Bello, Valerie Cassio, Julian Chancellor, Judson Colley, Carter Cook, Aaliyah Delarosa, Manuel Dorantes, Ava Fite, Javan Garcia, Audrey Garrett, Jamie Garrett, Alessandro Greco, Ja’Liyah Hall, Marisol Hipolito, Celeste Landin, Claire Muskrat, Chelsea Plascencia-Mendoza, Andrew Simmons, Kortland Stovall, Wendy Valdez, Angel Vazquez, Nathan Zavala.

Sixth Grade: Jorge Almazan Jr., Natalia Aspeitia, Katherine Ball, Melanie Barraza, Veronica Bernardino, Jeffrey Bond, Elizabeth Buck, Tiyanna Canton, Samuel Chappell, Selena Clark, Ariana Cruz, Jonathan Dalby, Diya Desai, Marion Dunn, Ke’Aundra Evans, Donavyn Gafford, Patricia Gonzalez, Stephanie Guerrero, Madison Hargrove, Addison Heeren, Hayden Hester, Skyler Hopkins, Randieunna Jeffery, William Johnson, Kinley Lowry, Tanner Marshall, Amir Martinez, Daimarie Memije, Eunice Mendoza Garcia, Jesus Moreno, Alivia Newman, McKaylie Nixon, Ayden Osterdock, Ashley Pena, Yahaira Pina, Alayza Police, Hector Salazar, Amy Santillan, Chloe Snodgrass, Araceli Solis Katelyn Tejeda, Katherine Thompson, Luke Thurman, Diego Torres.