Mount Pleasant High School senior Ja’Quacy Minter qualified for the Tournament of Champions (TOC) in September of 2018, just a few weeks into his senior year. And this past weekend, he and his parents, Tedd and Danielle Minter, made the trip to the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Students qualifying for the TOC represented 33 states and 4 countries. Minter is the first student from MPHS to ever qualify for the prestigious tournament.

On day one, Minter competed in 3 rounds of Oral Interpretation against 32 other competitors from across the United States. He performed a prose piece twice and a poetry piece once. On day two, he continued with three more rounds before the field was cut to fourteen semifinalists. Minter found himself among the fourteen best in the nation.

In the semifinals, Minter had just one round to perform his prose piece and prove that he belonged in the finals. The fourteen semifinalists then gathered in an auditorium on the UK campus. Eight of the fourteen were presented with Semifinalist trophies one at a time, marking the end of the competition for them and leaving just six competitors still standing before the crowd. Minter found himself among the final six.

On the final day of competition, Minter performed his poetry piece and then waited to learn what place he had earned. Minter’s mom livestreamed the awards ceremony on her Facebook page. Members of the MPHS Speech and Debate team organized a watch party in Coach Cody Morris’s room during their lunch period to watch their teammate. In the end, Minter placed 3rd in the nation.

“Ja’Quacy is a true talent,” said MPHS Speech & Debate coach, Cody Morris. “He has amazed me all year. Ja’Quacy was the first person in school history to qualify for the UKTOC. He then placed 3rd at the National Tournament. He is a true inspiration to future students. I will be sad to see Ja’Quacy go, but I am excited to see what he can do at UIL State at the end of May.”

Ja’Quacy with his 3rd place trophy

Ja’Quacy with his parents, Tedd and Danielle Minter