Arts & Culture, Open Mic

Open Mic: Lily’s Lecture by Avery Lo Monaco

“Lily! It’s time to go!” called Mrs. Stevens. For some reason, six o’clock in the morning seemed like a complete nightmare, but Lily Stevens had her first speech tournament that day and had to get to the event early.

“I can’t find my shoes!” Lily panicked. After searching all through the house, Lily remembered that she had left her dress shoes in the car.

Finally, the Stevens were off to the competition!

“Mom, what if my hair comes undone? What if my shoes are too small? What if–” Lily started.

“Lily! You’ll be fine,” her mom said.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, honey. How about a quick breakfast stop? The competition doesn’t start for another hour and a half.”

Lily shook her head. “I want to get there as early as possible. Charlotte and I still have to rehearse our duo!”

Mrs. Stevens was confused and said, “But you’ve never missed a yummy Chick-fil-A breakfast!”

“Please, mom. Maybe afterwards.”

After a bit more driving, the Steven’s had arrived at the tournament. They walked through the big halls to the gym area where all the speech kids could hangout.

“Hey, Lily!” a friend from speech, Jamie, smiled.

“Hi…Jerry?” Lily said. She and Jamie laughed. It was an inside joke.

“So, are you ready for the competition?” Jamie asked.

“Um, I think so. I just have to find Charlotte. Where is she?” Lily asked.

Jamie hesitated before answering, “Okay, don’t freak out when I tell you this, but–”

“What?” Lily said, worried.

“Charlotte got the bug and can’t come,” Jamie finished.

“Seriously? Now Dave Roberson has to be my partner.”

Dave Roberson was… well, he never made it to meetings, and when he did, he played on his phone! Whenever Mrs. Wright, the speech director, asked where he was with his speeches, he shrugged and said, “I don’t know.” The only reason Dave was able to be a backup for Lily and Charlotte was because he had read the book way too many times.

“Hello, Crayon partner!” Dave snorted as he walked over to the two girls.

“Hello, Dave,” Lily smiled sarcastically. “You better do the best job that you’ve ever done in the history of your life today!” she said. Dave laughed. Lily wasn’t laughing. “Oh, and also Dave, my name is Lily.” Lily walked towards Jamie’s table and set her stuff down. After setting up her area, Mrs. Stevens came over to the table.

“Hey, Lil! So, I just wanted to let you know I am filling in for a judge today,” she smiled.

“Oh, cool!” Lily said.

“For your platform,” Mrs. Stevens added.

Lily stopped in her tracks. She loved her mom, but she did not want her to judge for the platform speech. Her mom can be a little biased and that is not a good quality for a judge.

“Um, okay. Mom, why don’t you and I go take a little walk–” Lily said but was quickly interrupted.

“Lily Stevens! I do not need to talk to you about being too biased or a bad judge. You know, I’ve judged some speech tournaments in my lifetime.”

“Look, mom, I am sorry. I am just super nervous with Charlotte gone and with you judging my speech. It’s just a lot,” Lily said.

Her mom nodded, gave her a hug, and headed to the judges table. Just when Lily thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. Her stomach started to rumble. I should have eaten! After minutes of rummaging through her bag, Lily decided to quickly grab a bite across the street. She grabbed her bag and phone and headed to Starbucks.

“Hello, I am kind of in a hurry. Can I get a chocolate danish to go, please?” Lily told the cashier.

“Sure! Anything else?” the cashier smiled. Lily shook her head and gave the cashier the total. While looking for a place to wait, Lily turned around to find a familiar face.

“Charlotte?” Lily was stunned. What was her partner doing here? Wasn’t she sick?

“Oh, um, hey,” Charlotte said. She was sitting with a friend. “This is Ellie.”

“I thought you were sick!” Lily said.

“Um, who is this, Char?” Ellie asked.

“I am her speech and debate duo partner,” Lily snapped.

“I just made plans, and I didn’t really want to… I am sorry,” Charlotte apologized.

“I cannot believe you’d do this!” Lily said, angrily, sighing, but she could understand Charlotte was probably just too anxious. Soon, Lily’s order was ready, and she headed at the door.

Thankfully, Lily had about forty minutes till she had to be at the first room. She had her extemporaneous speech first, which is a limited prep speech. While she was devouring her danish, Jamie came by. She broke of a piece of the danish and took a bite.

“Hey!” Lily said, swallowing a bite of chocolaty goodness. The two friends laughed together and finished the breakfast.

“Hello, all speech and debate students! The competition is beginning in five minutes! Please make your way to the assigned rooms!” the loudspeakers boomed. Jamie said goodbye, and soon, Lily was on her way to her very first tournament. She looked around at all the nervous, yet happy faces and realized that though she may be worried, she wasn’t alone. She aced the following speeches and was congratulated by her fellow peers!


Moral: Everyone can get nervous sometimes! In “Lily’s Lecture,” Lily Stevens struggles to get ready for her tournament. She doesn’t quite realize that everyone is going through a similar circumstance. Even though she’s worried, she is not alone!


Photo Credit: Avery Lo Monaco


Meet the Author

How old are you?

I am twelve years old.

Where do you live?

I live in Virginia.

What classes are you taking with TPS?

I am currently taking English 2 Lit and Comp – Uncommon Valor with Miss Shearon, Spanish 1 Language and Culture with Sr. Poortenga, and Globetrotters Geography for Middle School with Mr. Monfreda.

What is your favorite thing about writing?

You can create anything! Whether someone is writing a song or a story, the author can use a variety of words to express themselves. You have the availability to create something original and unique! It’s just really imaginative!


  1. Awesome job Avery! ???? This was really good, I loved it! Also, I am in your English class! ????????

  2. Super cool! I enjoyed reading it????

  3. Good job!! I like your message and moral. 🙂

  4. OliverMunzer/omunzer

    Good Job Avery! Loved reading it!

  5. Thanks guys!!