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Richard A. Hunsaker High School Student Award

Hunsaker served as President of the Illinois Speech & Theater Association in 1972. He built a distinguished 30-year career teaching speech, drama, and debate at Belleville West High School. His exemplary teaching, coaching, and communication skills brought him national recognition as an outstanding Illinois Educator. His impact on students has been long-standing, and the success of his students in speech and debate led to many State Championships. He has written and published texts on listening and verbal communication. Upon his retirement from Belleville West High School, he started a new career as a college professor and speech and debate coach at McKendree College. The Hunsaker award is given to a high school student who has been active in speech and/or theatre activities and who has made significant contributions to the community and school.

2023 Hunsaker High School Student Award Winner

Pierce McDade, University High School 

Pierce McDade, of Bloomington, Illinois, is an accomplished public speaker with interests in politics, economics, and the humanities.Throughout his high school experience, Pierce competed on the University High School Speech & Debate Team. His accomplishments include placing 4th at the 2021 National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament in Prepared Commentary, 3rd at the 2022 IHSA State Final in Impromptu Speaking, 2nd at the 2023 IHSA State Final in Extemporaneous Speaking, and winning the 2023 University of Kentucky Tournament of Champions in Extemporaneous Speaking. Additionally, Pierce took on many leadership positions in various clubs throughout his four years in high school including serving as Class President for three years and Student Body President for one year. Pierce is passionate about using communication to lead and serve others, with a focus on the people behind the topics he discusses. Pierce is attending Oxford College of Emory University, planning to major in Political Science and Economics.

Past Winners of the Richard A. Hunsacker High School Student Award

1989 Ben Moore, Heyworth High School

1990 Aaron Spaid, Heyworth High School

1991 Allen Cook, Downers Grove South High School

1992 Christopher Daley, Belleville West High School

1993  No Award Given

1994 Ron Provine, Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School

1995 Ryan Meliske, Heyworth High School

1996  No Award Given

1997 Bhavesh Patel, DuQuoin High School

1998 Tanja Ruch, Normal Community High School

1999 Jeff Hemmer, Belleville East High School

2000 Eric A. Gehrie, New Trier High School

2001 Elizabeth Holt, University High School

2002 Chris Appuhn, Fulton High School

2003 Carlisle Wallace, Heyworth High School

2004 Andy Junk, Downers Grove South High School & Jacob Vial, Pontiac High School

2005 Kelly Hires, Downers Grove South High School

2006 Lindsey Boerma, Lincoln Community High School

2007 Ben Leddy, Charleston High School

2008 Kyle Akerman, Downers Grove South High School

2009 Leah Capranica, Glenwood Chatham High School

2010 A.J. Curry, Fremd High School

2011 Jay Daniels, Charleston High School

2012 Ryan Carrigan, Normal Community West High School

2013 Alison Ogunmokun, University High School

2014 Amy Daniels, Charleston High School

2015 Callen Brown, United Township High School

2016 Katie Mueller, Charleston High School

2017 Emily Hill, Huntley High School

2018  Emily Gibson, Glenbard West High School

2019 No Award Given

2020 Jaylon Muchison, Belleville West High School

2021 No Award Given

2022 Joyce Yang, Bartlett High School

2023 Pierce McDade, University High School

Illinois Communication and Theatre Association

C/O Edward Schwarz

Prairie State College

202 S. Halsted St.

Chicago Heights, IL 60411


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