By Lauren Victory

CHICAGO (CBS) — Two of the top young speakers in the nation live right here in the south suburbs of Chicago.

But, as CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory reports, there’s so much more to their stories.

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Meet Nyah Ware, a national championship speech competitor in the prepared impromptu speaking category. That is just part of what makes her impressive. Her GPA? 4.88.

We first met nyah at the graduation for Southland College Prep. The class valedictorian is headed to Stanford, one of many schools that accepted her. She earned close to two million dollars in scholarships!

Nyah has earned many accolades for her four years of speech competitions, but it hasn’t been easy at times.

“So last year, I went to state, and I was the only black person, not just black girl, who made it to state in impromptu,” she said.  “So winning it all meant a lot.”

“In winning it all, meant U had a lot of critiques telling me work on pronouncing ‘ask’ or pronouncing this word … sort of racial undertones.”

Bri’Yon Watts is also headed to a top school and excelled at the national speech tournament, coming in third in his category.

But, listen to the day Bri’Yon had, beginning with the speech competition.

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“So in the morning, I had my two rounds for semifinals,” he said. ‘I actually did those in my hotel room.”

That hotel room in donwnstate Charleston, where he was competing in the state high school track meet.

Two competitions in the same day!

“So I did those two rounds from my hotel room and then we got everything together for me to go to the track meet.  Luckily the track meet was about two minutes away.”

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the speech tourney was virtual. So the hotel room was turned into a remote studio, allowing Bri’Yon to compete in both.

“We had to get creative,” he said. “We put the microwave on top of the table and there’s where we set the monitor.”

Bri’Yon’s going to be the first in his family to go to college. He is planning to run track and compete on the speech team at Duke.

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As for Nyah, she’s majoring in biomedical engineering at Stanford while also studying communications.

Lauren Victory