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Newberry Students Earn High Accolades at Speech & Theatre Competition

February 24, 2020


LANCASTER, S.C. — Students representing Newberry College’s speech and theatre programs participated in the South Carolina Speech and Theatre Association’s annual State College Festival Competition, taking home individual trophies in multiple categories.


The event was held Feb. 15 at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster.


“I am proud of our team and their high achievements,” said Pat Gagliano, professor of theatre and speech. “SCSTA is an opportunity to showcase our outstanding work, and once again, our team did not disappoint.”


Caleb Lawrimore, a senior from Newberry, won the Triathlon Award for the second consecutive year. The award is the highest individual prize, given to the student with the highest combined score in theatre, performance studies and public speaking events. This is the fifth time in nine years a Newberry College student has won the award, following wins in 2019, 2018, 2014 and 2012. Lawrimore is also the first student in association history to win the award more than once.


Senior Nigel Johnson, of Manning, earned first place honors in impromptu speaking for the third consecutive year and in prose interpretation for the second consecutive year.


Senior Justin Messersmith, of Stevensville, Maryland, took second place in prose interpretation in his first festival showing.


The students worked under the direction of Gagliano and Mandy Butler, associate professor of theatre.


Individually, Newberry team members placed in the following competitions:

  • Audition Monologues: Lawrimore (second)
  • Impromptu Speaking: Johnson (first)
  • Informative Speaking:  Lawrimore (second)
  • Poetry Interpretation: Johnson (second)
  • Prose Interpretation: Johnson (first) and Messersmith (second)
  • Storytelling: Lawrimore (first)

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