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Newberry Takes Speech & Theatre Championship

April 15, 2019


LANCASTER, S.C. — A team of Newberry College students recently participated in the South Carolina Speech and Theatre Association’s annual State College Festival Competition, taking the championship along with trophies in a number of categories. The event was held at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster on April 13.


“We had a fun day and our students represented the College well,” said Pat Gagliano, Professor of Theatre and Speech and Chair of the Department of Arts and Communications.


Participating Newberry students included Ashton Porter (Lexington, S.C.), Allie White (Clinton, S.C.), Biasia Roberts (Chester, S.C.), Aniya Mahaffey (Oxford, Ala.), Matalyn Mills (Newberry), Caleb Lawrimore (Newberry) and Nigel Johnson (Manning, S.C.).


The delegation won the Team Sweepstakes Award, for the most combined first, second, and third place finishes, for the second consecutive year. The team finished ahead of Claflin University and Tri-County Technical College, who took second and third, respectively.


Individually, Newberry team members placed in the following competitions:

  • Audition Monologues: Nigel Johnson (3rd place)
  • Musical Theatre Audition: Matalyn Mills (2nd place)
  • Poetry Interpretation: Matalyn Mills (1st place)
  • Prose Interpretation: Nigel Johnson (1st place); Allie White (2nd place)
  • Storytelling: Caleb Lawrimore (1st place); Allie White (2nd place)
  • Impromptu Speaking: Nigel Johnson (1st place)
  • Informative Speaking: Ashton Porter (2nd place)
  • Persuasive Speaking: Matalyn Mills (2nd place); Aniya Mahaffey (3rd place)


Lawrimore also won the Triathlon Award, the highest individual prize, given to the student with the highest combined score in theatre, performance studies, and public speaking events. This is the fourth time in eight years a Newberry College student has won the award, following wins in 2018, 2014 and 2012.


“The Team award is terrific, and what is even more exciting was the opportunity to see the presentations, learn, and network with people who share a passion for excellence in theatre and speech education,” Gagliano said.


The next competition is scheduled for Saturday, February 15, 2020, at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster.

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