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Irving Takes Annual Competition

The Irving Society has won Mercersburg’s annual Irving-Marshall Week competition, triumphing over the rival Marshall Society, 1095 to 890 total points.

Irving’s Tyerra Rooffener ’23 (Osage Beach, MO) took first place at Declamation, Mercersburg’s 129th prize speaking contest, officially sealing the win for her society. Marshall’s Ryan Casey ’23 (Vienna, VA) was second. Mel Cort ’23 (Brookeville, MD) of Marshall placed third, and Marshall received the best overall team prize with declaimers Casey, Cort, Manny Ponce ’23, Talia Cutler ’23, and Keri-Ann Denis '25.

Head of School Quentin McDowell P ’25 announced the results at an all-school dance following Declamation March 2.

Rooffener won with the piece “You Can Come Back,” written by her and Zane Arky ’23.

Casey took second with “Why I’m Banned from the CVS at 173 Conway Drive, Newark, New Jersey,” a presentation that he wrote.

Cort was third with “Uniform,” by Riley Horan.

Declaimer judges were asked to determine first, second, and third place winners among the 10 speakers, and then to make a judgment of the stronger overall team performance.

According to Declamation Adviser Matt Maurer, P ’18, ’20, ’22, ’23, the most important criterion is the quality of the declaimer’s vocal performance, followed by their physical embodiment of the character. Maurer, who helped prepare the students for the competition, referred to guidelines the judges received, which state “the choice of selection determines what is possible, and the appropriateness of that choice to the speaker is also an important consideration in evaluating the effectiveness of the presentation.”

Every member of the student body belongs to one of the two societies, which faced off during the week in a number of athletic and other competitions—most notably Declamation, which pits five representatives from each society in a public speaking contest where prepared monologues are delivered in formal attire for an energetic yet dignified crowd of students, the school community, and distinguished judges from outside the school community. Victories in each event during the week garner points for the winning society. Entering Declamation, the point total stood at 795 for Irving and 490 for Marshall with 700 points available at Declamation.

This year’s society presidents are Caroline Wilkinson ’23 of Hagerstown (Irving) and Isabel Su ’23 of Hagerstown (Marshall).


Rooffener (Irving), first place: John K. Berger Prize, John S. Derr Prize, and Scoblionko Declamation Cup (given by David Scoblionko ’66 and Eric Scoblionko ’72)

Casey (Marshall), second place: J. Harry Wood Prize, John S. Derr Prize

Cort (Marshall), third place: Dorothy Baker Prize, John S. Derr Prize

Marshall team: John K. and Mary Jane Berger Prize