Grover Cleveland Students Alexandra Wertz, Jessica Rizzo and DeeAnna Meluso Finish First in Forensics Competition

From left: seventh grader Brendan Padover, eighth graders Lydia Wielgus and Megan West, seventh graders Allie Wertz and Ashvin Nagarajan, and sixth graders Julia Tuck, Jessica Rizzo and DeeAnna Meluso. Credits: Christine Corliss

WEST CALDWELL, NJ – On Saturday, April 20, eight students from Grover Cleveland Middle School (GCMS), Caldwell, struck gold when their team won first place over-all in the 2013 Lancer Invitational Tournament for Oratorical Declamation and Interpretive Reading (Prose or Poetry). The group returned with fourteen individual trophies; seventh grader Alexandra Wertz won first place in the Declamation Varsity Competition and sixth graders DeeAnna Meluso and Jessica Rizzo won first place in the Junior Varsity Declamation and Interpretive Reading Competions.

Representing GCMS in the Varsity Competition were:
Grade 8:
  • Megan West
    5th place in the Interpretive Reading competition
  • Lydia Wielgus
    2nd place in Declamation competition
    2nd place in Interpretive Reading competition
Grade 7:
  • Ashvin Nagarajan
    4th place in the Declamation competition
  • Brendan Padover
    3rd place
    in the Interpretive Reading competition

  • Alexandra Wertz
    1st place in the Declamation competition
    4th place
    in the Interpretive Reading competition
Representing GCMS in the Junior Varsity Competition were:
Grade 6
  • DeeAnna Meluso
    place in the Declamation competition
    3rd place in the Interpretive Reading competition
  • Jessica Rizzo
    3rd place
    in the Declamation competition
    1st place in the Interpretive Reading competition
  • Julia Tuck
    2nd place
    in the Declamation compettion
    2nd place in the Interpretive Reading competitions

The competition was held at Livingston High School, Livingston, where the sixth, seventh and eighth graders competed against more than ten school districts and 90 students. The tournament is for students in grades 5 through 8, and is designed to get students interested in public speaking and to award those who show excellence in speech. The competition, which is run and judged by experienced "forensicators" who compete in both speech and debate at either a state or national level, also enhances students’ public speaking knowledge and skill.

“Practicing to compete in both declamation and interpretive reading during a single competition takes a lot of dedication and hard work,” said Claudia Douris, teacher and forensic team coach. “The students work very hard to perfect their performances, memorizing and practicing for months at a time. This was a tough competition against very talented opponents from a variety of other school districts, and all of our students rose to the challenge.” 

Grover Cleveland Middle School students from left: seventh grader Brendan Padover, eighth graders Lydia Wielgus and Megan West, seventh graders Allie Wertz and Ashvin Nagarajan, and sixth graders Julia Tuck, Jessica Rizzo and DeeAnna Meluso  
Credit: Christine Corliss

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For further information:
Grover Cleveland Middle School 
Principal: James Brown 
36 Academy Road 
Caldwell, NJ 07006 


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