Ten Monticello High School students recently advanced to the final or semifinal rounds of the Arkansas Communication and Theatre Arts Association’s Tournament of Champions, a competition with more than 30 schools and 700 entries competing.

Monticello’s Jasmine Wilkerson, Zach Cason, Mary Kate Jones, Savannah Reynolds, David deRueda, Rian Meeks and Joseph James all advanced to the final rounds.

Wilkerson was a finalist in readers theatre and a finalist in prose interpretation; Cason, Reynolds and deRueda placed second in mime; Meeks and James placed second in improvised duet acting; and Cason and Jones placed third in duet acting.

Those advancing to semifinals were Becca Stephenson, prose interpretation; Erin Ashcraft and Jones, mime; Elizabeth Wilson, poetry interpretation; and Ashcraft and deRueda, improvised duet acting.

Students earning superior and excellent ratings in the preliminary rounds were Levi King, prose; Krystle Conyers, prose; DeRueda, prose; Stephenson, poetry; Reynolds, poetry; Ashcraft, storytelling; Salonica Hunter, storytelling; and Jones, original oratory.

In all forensics tournaments, students from schools of all sizes, regardless of classification, compete against each other. Monticello students competed with students from much larger schools, including Bentonville, Fayetteville, Cabot and Little Rock, according to Debbie Ashcraft, Monticello High School forensics coach.

“We are grateful for the support displayed by Monticello’s administration and teachers for this co-curricular competition,” Ashcraft said. “We couldn’t have this success without them. We appreciate everyone’s encouragement.”

She said having a new forensics class during school hours has made all the difference in the students’ performances.

Ashcraft and Christy Armbrust are the team coaches.