ORANGEBURG - Tri-County Technical College took second place honors overall in the 2017 South Carolina Speech and Theater Association's Annual College Festival Competition. Only two points separated Tri-County and Claflin University, the 2017 champion.

Tri-County's team members placed in six different events during the competition and earned top scores in two categories.

Colleges and universities from around South Carolina met on the campus of Claflin University February 11.

          "This is our 20th year to bring a team to competition. This is a great opportunity for students to develop important communications skills and do it in a competitive environment," said Tri-County speech instructor and team coach Greg Toney. "Everyone worked hard and was deserving of his or her success."

          Tri-County Technical College was represented by five students in the competition. This year's team included Joel McCann, Ella Hilliard, Lizzy Parnell, Amani Altwam and Ricky Schmidt.

          Joel McCann, a university transfer/duel credit student from Anderson, placed first in Informative Speaking and Oral Interpretation of Poetry.

          Lizzy Parnell, an associate in arts major in Theater Design from Simpsonville, placed first in the Theatrical Design category.

Amani Altwam, an associate in arts major from Anderson, placed second in Persuasive Speaking.

          Ricky Schmidt, an associate in arts major from Charleston, placed second in Informative Speaking.

          Ella Hilliard, an associate in arts major from Dahlonega, GA placed third in Oral Interpretation of Prose.

          "My goal is to go to these competitions and be competitive," said Toney. "It's a challenge to compete every year against schools, such as Newberry College, Claflin University, or USC Upstate, that actually have four-year programs in drama and speech. However, we always have success and this year was no different as we excelled in of the categories that we participated in."

          Participating colleges and universities in this year's competition included Tri-County, Claflin University, Midlands Technical College, Newberry College, USC Lancaster and USC Upstate.

The South Carolina Speech and Theatre Association (SCSTA) is a professional organization that promotes the study of all areas of performance and oral communication: acting, oral interpretation/performance studies, theatre, broadcasting, public speaking, discussion and debate, and speech education. Its main purpose is the advancement of the total speech and theatre effort in the educational system of South Carolina. SCSTA serves both the public and private schools and the colleges and universities in South Carolina through an annual conference and spring festival competitions in the communication arts and through recognition of outstanding contributors to our efforts. The 2018 SCSTA College Festival Competition will be held Saturday, February 24, 2018, at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg.