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SKY Academy preparing more students for speech and debate events

Judy Woodring, who recently retired as director of WKU’s forensics program, has started the Southern Kentucky (SKY) Academy to offer speech and debate training for students who do not have speech programs in their schools.

Woodring, who does all the coaching, prepares the students for different competitions just like other high school teams. “We just returned from the junior high national championships where Caroline Ford (of Bowling Green) won two national championships,” Woodring said.

Since its start last September, SKY has been made up of mostly home school students.  “The parents of the home school students have been doing a tremendous job with helping,” Woodring said. “I have a phenomenal group of parents.”

Bowling Green home school student Aspen Hennessey found out about SKY Academy from a friend. “A family friend who is also home schooled told us about SKY Academy and now I’m getting ready to start my second year,” Hennessey said.

Edmonson County native Alex Hawkins, who is in his second year in SKY Academy, is competing in several events. “I do Public Speaking, Broadcasting, Declamation and will also be doing Duo next year,” Hawkins said.

The SKY Academy has about 35 students ranging from the ages of 9 to 18 in junior high and senior high divisions.

In the past year, the team members attended three invitational tournaments, Kentucky High School Speech League (KHSSL) regional tournament and KHSSL state tournament. SKY won KHSSL regionals in both the junior and senior divisions. In the state event, the SKY Academy had 28 semifinalists, 12 finalists, two second-place finishers, one fourth place, one sixth place and two State Champions — Caroline Ford in Public Speaking and Ethan Corder in Poetry.

Five members of the junior high team traveled to Iowa for the NFL National Junior High Tournament. Ford won first place in Public Speaking and Dramatic Performance. The team had two semifinalists and a second-place finish in Poetry.

For more about the SKY Academy, contact Judy Woodring at (270) 745-6340.

New director Jace Lux and Judy Woodring discuss their  new roles in the WKU forensics program in  this week’s View from the Hill.

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