Joe Nero places second at international public speaking competition

Joe Nero, Kalyan Palepu, and Trey Sullivan at the IISPSC in Winnipeg, Canada

Three RL boys, accompanied by history master Stewart Thomsen, competed at this year’s International Independent School Public Speaking Competition (IISPSC) held in Winnipeg, Canada. Students from North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia partook in the competition, hosted jointly by Gray Academy and Balmoral Hall. Joe Nero (Class I), and Kalyan Palepu and Trey Sullivan (both Class II), competed in three events each. Joe placed second in the Radio Newscast event—the first RL boy to mark in this event in at least the last 20 years.


To compete in this event, each student is given 30 minutes to prepare a four-minute, top-of-the-hour broadcast based on local, national, and international news publications. Joe, who typically competes in Cross-Examination and Parliamentary debate, was competing in Radio Newscast for the first time.


“One of the most challenging things about this event was being the last one to compete,” Joe says. “You’re not allowed to enter the room until it’s your turn to perform, so I didn’t know what I was up against.” In preparing for the event, Joe relied on videos of Radio Newscast performance, as well as on his experience as the game announcer for RL’s varsity football home games.


“The tournament is a long four days—it includes lots of practicing and lots of downtime—but I’m really proud of the way we all performed,” says Joe. “Kalyan and Trey did really well, and I could see that they improved quite a bit over those four days. They worked really hard.”


Joe’s performance at IISPSC qualifies him to become a member of the United States team for the World Individual Debate and Public Speaking Championships to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, in April.