TPS alumnus Daniel Leonard '13, a senior at St. Joseph’s Prep, finished top in the category of Impromptu Speaking in the Pennsylvania High School Speech and Debate State Tournament last weekend. What makes this win especially remarkable is that this was the first time Daniel competed in this category, specializing in the past in Original Oratory.
There are six rounds in the competition: three rounds of preliminaries (with 64 competitors), quarterfinals (26) competitors, semifinals (12 competitors) and finals (6 finalists). In each round, the competitor draws three related topics out of a hat and then selects one of the three to work on.
In the finals, Leonard selected the question, If you could switch places with any notable person, who would that be? He chose South African entrepreneur Elon Musk.
“I think he’s very interesting; of course, I would love to be as wealthy as him but also to have that much influence over such fascinating companies [Tesla, SpaceX],” says Daniel. “He is rich while still running companies that are beneficial to the world. I don’t consider him greedy because he is doing good things.”
Next fall, Daniel heads to Harvard University, where he expects to explore his many interests –from astrophysics to writing to philosophy to international affairs.
TPS is very proud of Daniel, as is his mother, preschool's assistant teacher Madeline Ortiz-Leonard.