4-year speech team member named state champ in radio speaking


Courtesy of NCHS Speech Team

Senior Maryam Tariq shows off her first place medal after Radio Speaking winners were announced and she performed her piece on stage.

Kait McHale, Staff Writer

Naperville Central senior Maryam Tariq’s sister always told her “radio was a lame event.” However, after playing around with different events, she tried it out her junior year. It clicked. Tariq joined the speech team four years ago, following in her older sister’s footsteps. Eventually, she competed in the 2022 Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state speech tournament, where she won first place in Radio Speaking on Feb. 19.

The speech season began in October, and every Saturday, the team would compete in tournaments. Tariq was selected by Central’s coaches to compete in regionals at Neuqua Valley High School on Feb. 5, where she placed in the top four, qualifying for sectionals at Wheaton Warrenville South High School on Feb. 18. At sectionals, she then placed in the top three, qualifying for state at the Peoria Civic Center. 

“We knew that we were coming from a strong sectionals,” speech head coach Jeremy Lin said. “State went really well for Maryam. When she came out of her prelims feeling good, I knew we were going to do great things.”

In the Radio Speaking event, competitors have a limited amount of time to make a radio broadcast based on provided stories.

“When you compete, you’re given a packet of new stories from all different categories: international, national, local, sports and weather,” Tariq said. “Then you have to cut that big packet down to a slightly smaller packet in 45 minutes, and basically make a radio broadcast that runs for five minutes.” 

To prepare for state, Tariq practiced almost every day to perfect her technique. 

“I practiced my old packets a lot before state just to work on tweaking my tone on certain things,” Tariq said.

Aside from being the 2022 IHSA state Radio Speaking champion, Tariq is also a co-captain of Central’s speech team. 

“Coming off being online last year has made it an odd year, but just being able to rebuild the community and what it means to be a speech member has been one of my favorite things about being a captain on the team this year,” Tariq said. 

Lin has watched Tariq grow over the years. 

“I think this has really been a breakout season for her,” Lin said. “She’s just become a lot more consistent at doing the right things. I think she just has natural talent but she also backs it up with a lot of hard work and commitment.”

Tariq is not planning to continue competing in speech when she’s in college. 

“I think I’m going to round my speech career off at high school.” Tariq said. “I want to be a wildlife conservationist, which is a career very different from anything speech related, but who knows, maybe someday I’ll run a podcast too.”