Sears Steals the Show


Senior Connor Sears smiles proudly with his runner-up nationals trophy.

Steph Sommer, Senior Editor

1 in 230. Often, when we hear a statistic like this, it’s linked to negative ideas. But for one senior at East, it’s his claim to fame.

In June, fourteen East students headed to Birmingham, Alabama to compete in the national speech and debate competition against the top performers in the country. Connor Sears, a senior at East High, was one of those fourteen to get a shot at the chance of a lifetime.

Sears performed a 10-minute cutting from the play “Norman… Is That You?” in the humorous interpretation category.  The piece focuses on embracing yourself, despite what other people don’t like.

“It stood for something,” said Sears. “Having myself stand up on that stage and present it, I knew that the story was going to impact someone.”

With the piece, he first broke into the top thirty, then into the semi-finals, and finally into the finals, performing the piece multiple times for many judges until his big moment finally arrived.

“As soon as they rolled down the list of codes and I saw my code, it struck me,” explained Sears. “Out of thousands of competitors, I was in the top six. Hundreds of hours I spent on that piece had paid off in the biggest way possible.”

Not only did Connor personally get a win, but he brought home the trophy for all of Wyoming.

“Usually finalists are from California, Texas, Florida and certain big ticket schools. Being a national finalist seemed so impossible for Wyoming,” said Sears.

Sears is only the second Wyoming student to become a national finalist, the first one being in 2002. Setting the bar so high for both himself and the rest of Wyoming has led Sears to taking on a huge goal for his team.

“We can and soon will be a nationally competitive team,” said Sears. “We have the talent, and now it’s time that we showcase that.”

Sears plans to continue to help and inspire others to help reach the level of success that he did.

“I’m really hoping that from now on people know it’s not only possible for Cheyenne kids to be national finalists, but it’ also a realistic goal with hard work and passion.”