Williamson County students were honored at the Dr. Kathy Ligon Invitational where they took home awards across a variety of competitions from storytelling to debates. 

Students represented Brentwood High School, Independence High School, Ravenwood High School and Summit High School on Jan. 25 at Cookeville High School.

RHS Theatre Director, Speech Coach and Fine Arts Department Chair Brian Kaufman said in an email that his students have been preparing for the invitational since August where they worked on speaking drills, editing down full length performances while retaining the dramatic structure and practicing their pieces. 

Kaufman said that students in these programs and competitions learn to speak in front of groups with confidence and understanding, something that can help them with both school presentations, job interviews and more.

“Articulacy students are able to take on an idea and evolve it into a message they want to share with others. From the 'actor's' point of view they are working on physicality and character voices, how to change in a moment from one character to another, along with understanding the subtext of a character. Speech is like a 10-minute audition. This builds up the actor's confidence to not be so nervous in an audition setting,” Kaufman said. “For the debaters, they are learning how to build cases for both sides (pro and con), argue in a mature fashion and understand if their side has been chosen or not.  They also learn a lot about the domestic and international world events that are happening. They learn critical thinking, prepping contentions and then in the debate how to counter act against their opponent.” 

According to a WCS news release, RHS earned the most points in the competition and won the Sweepstakes Award.  

"I am just in awe of our students motivation, passion and persistence to keep challenging themselves and wanting to grow as young performers, politicians, etc.," Kaufman said. "They are succeeding in these different activities at a high level and receiving great grades in the classroom. It motivates us as teachers, coaches and directors to keep doing our best work for them too."

A full list of winners can be found below.

Dramatic Interpretation

  • First: Natalie Porter, Ravenwood High

Duo Interpretation

  • First: Gavin Brock and Kendal Kocian, Ravenwood High
  • Second: Ian Brown and Edward Lee, Ravenwood High
  • Fourth: Lily Wilson and Sriya Kondapavaluru, Ravenwood High
  • Sixth: Isabelle Araujo and Victoria Araujo, Brentwood High

Duo Interpretation

  • First: Ian Brown and Edward Lee, Ravenwood High

Extemporaneous Speaking

  • Second: Anna Sullivan, Brentwood High
  • Fourth: Sidharth Babu, Brentwood High
  • Fifth: Maggie Beth Kimbro, Summit High
  • Sixth: Madeleine Jones, Brentwood High
  • Seventh: Molly Kimbro, Summit High

Humorous Interpretation

  • First: Fallon O’Donnell, Ravenwood High
  • Second: Shreesha Yelameli, Ravenwood High
  • Third: Gavin Brock, Ravenwood High
  • Sixth: Cassandra Swindle, Brentwood High

Impromptu Speaking

  • Fourth: Samantha Dreussi, Independence High
  • Fifth: Makayla Frisse, Independence High

Informative Speaking

  • Fourth: Claire Hopfensperger, Ravenwood High
  • Fifth: Raka Mukherjee, Ravenwood High

Original Oratory

  • Second: Kerigan Moore, Ravenwood High
  • Fifth: Sanjana Sitaram, Brentwood High

Poetry Interpretation

  • First: Lauren Latimore, Brentwood High

Program Oral Interpretation

  • Second: Sriya Kondapavaluru, Ravenwood High
  • Third: Jirayu Paueksakon, Ravenwood High
  • Fourth: Natalie Porter, Ravenwood High


  • Second: Olivia Williams, Ravenwood High
  • Third: Kendal Kocian, Ravenwood High


  • First: Lily Wilson, Ravenwood High
  • Third: Fallon O’Donnell, Ravenwood High
  • Sixth: Hannah Bhattacharya, Ravenwood High

Public Forum Debate

  • First: Eshani Mehta and Ash Huang, Ravenwood High
  • Second: Nick Forster-Benson and Hayden Teeter, Ravenwood High
  • Third: William Fiechtl and Daniel Chen, Ravenwood High
  • Fourth: Manavi Bajpal and Ella Bullock-Papa, Ravenwood High
  • Fifth: Rohan Gupta and Christopher Alley, Brentwood High
  • Sixth: Ananya Varshney and Nitya Yelliah, Brentwood High