HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A 2015 Hattiesburg High School graduate was named National Speech and Debate Student of the Year at the NSDA National Championship in Dallas.
Jarrius Adams beat out 77 other speech and debate contestants from across the country to win the title. He also placed fourth out of 300 competitors in dramatic interpretation.
"I'm excited. I'm honored," Adams said. "Not so much for myself, but because now that I'm going on to college and everything, my team has something now so people can know them and recognize the talent that they have. They can come up and do great things. So I'm excited, I'm honored, and I think I've worked very hard."
Adams said speech and debate was a major part of his high school experience.
"Speech and debate came first," Adams said. "Sometimes before my work, but my work still got done. Speech and debate really took up 90 percent of my high school time, and even in middle school."
Adams helped found the speech and debate team at N. R. Burger Middle School and said both the middle and high school programs helped him develop life skills as well as public speaking skills.
"It's taken up a lot of time, and I think it's paid off," Adams said. "I've developed many skills under the leadership of Mr. Scott Waldrop, my coach. He's done exceptionally well to develop us into the people that we are now."
Adams is attending Ole Miss in the fall as a business major.
"I'm not doing speech and debate there, but speech and debate is still inside of me," Adams said. "The things that I've learned from this activity will be with me forever. I was granted opportunities that otherwise I wouldn't be if I wasn't in speech and debate. It's really changed my life. Anything that I do, all of my future endeavors, will be the reflection of speech and debate."