Rylee Johnson represents HEHS speech team at State competition


Kuba Scigalski, Staff Writer

Rylee Johson, senior, has recently competed at the Illinois High School Association’s (IHSA) speech tournament, and she placed in the top 20 competitors in the event of poetry reading. She was the only student representing Hoffman Estates High School. 

The HEHS sectional this year was one of the most competitive in the state of Illinois. Johnson’s event is poetry reading, and only three competitors from each sectional qualified for state. 

“Competing at state is extremely impressive. It’s crazy to me how such talented people that have great work ethic, and who are committed to their craft often don’t qualify for state,” said Arisha Qureshi, sophomore. “Given how competitive our sectional competition is, it is a noble feat that Rylee made it to state.” 

Getting to state isn’t easy. Johnson was not born a perfect speaker. She had to work on her skills to perfect her art. She has had to deal with people criticizing her work. While other competitors struggle to take criticism, it’s a strength for Johnson.

Rylee’s [has a] willingness to try and her ability to grow from criticism rather than deflect it. She is always open to trying new things and she learns as much as she can from her experiences,” said Kenny Herron-Cologna, speech coach and English teacher.

While Johnson has had to work on her skills to improve her own individual skills, she has also improved the individuals who look up to her. Hajera Quadri, senior, said, her positive energy and her discipline to show up every day to give it her all has definitely inspired members of our team.

Johnson has also led the speech team, as she was a captain of the team for the 2022-2023 season. Her leadership has been recognized by her fellow members and captains.

“As someone who’s seen her leadership throughout this year as a fellow captain, the way she cares about this team is evidence for her deserving to represent us as a school at Piroria,” said Chittesh Saravanan, senior.