WEST CALDWELL, NJ –  Seventh graders from Grover Cleveland Middle School (GCMS), Caldwell, came out on top on Saturday, Dec. 7, when twelve students from the middle school traveled to Chatham, participating in the Interpretive Reading Forensic Tournament run by the New Jersey Drama and Forensic League. The seventh graders returned with four winners and three trophies, earning first, second and two students tying for third place. Designed to get students interested in public speaking and to award those who show excellence in speech, the competition also enhances students’ public speaking knowledge and skill.

“Practicing to compete in an interpretive reading competition takes a lot of dedication and hard work,” said teacher and forensic team coach Claudia Douris. “The students work very hard to perfect their performances, practicing their presentation techniques for months at a time. These students really rose to the challenge.”

Team Members
Twelve school districts participated in the event held at Chatham Middle School. Representing GCMS were:

  • Grade 6
    Anya Bargielski
    Laria Bryant
    Isabel Caravella
    Chloe Cordasco
    Ben Kopen
    Connor Padover
  • Grade 7
    Natasha LaChac - Second place
    DeeAnna Meluso - tied for Third Place
    Jessica Rizzo - tied for Third Place
    Julia Tuck - First place
  • Grade 8
    Stephanie Eckhardt
    Ben Mulick 

The Caldwell middle school swept the competition, earning the top three spots. Tuck earned first place in the competition, with LaChac taking second, and Meluso and Rizzo tied for third.

From left: Natasha LaChac, Julia Tuck, DeeAnna Meluso and Jessica Rizzo  
Credit: Claudia Douris

Further Information
Grover Cleveland Middle School
Principal: James Brown
36 Academy Road
Caldwell, NJ 07006