Alyssa Mills, a Midlothian resident who is a first year student at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, won the 2022 Reftable Cup, a prestigious public speaking award. The University of Glasgow Dialectic Society was established in 1451, and has been holding the annual competition for centuries.
The modern version of the contest is a three-round tournament that’s open to all students. The first round is a prepared speech against a standard topic. This year’s topic was a quotation by author Terry Pratchett. “Look, that’s why there’s rules, understand? So that you think before you break ‘em!”
Round Two is an impromptu speech, in which the speaker is given a random topic and must deliver a seven-minute speech. They only have fifteen minutes of preparation time. After the scores from these preliminary rounds are tabulated, a limited number of speakers are invited to participate in the Grand Final. Speakers in the final round present a fifteen-minute presentation of their choice.
The Reftable Cup is awarded to the Grand Final Champion, and this year’s winner was Alyssa Mills. Her first year of university speech and debate has been going very well, with placements and wins in several United Kingdom and International open and Parliamentary Debate tournaments. She received a second-place finish in the November Imperial College of London competition and a championship in the January University of Glasgow senior debate tournament.
Alyssa is the 18-year-old daughter of Sean and Kim Mills, Waxalothian residents whose rural property is split between Midlothian and Waxahachie. She is the granddaughter of Duncanville residents David and Marsha Mills. Aly is studying Social and public policy and Sociology at the University of Glasgow. Her goal is to work in international human rights advocacy and policy.
Sean Mills said, “Kim homeschooled the children for most of their primary and secondary schooling, coaching Aly in Speech and Debate. Kim and I are incredibly proud of all of our children’s accomplishments.”
“It is fantastic to see Aly achieving the success she earned through years of training and competition in the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (NCFCA). With a change in focus from local to international topics and deep integration to an inclusive and diverse organization, Aly is realizing the true depth of her talent and potential,” he added.
Aly’s twin sister, Alexis (Lexi) Mills, attends the University of Tulsa (OK) on a full academic scholarship as a Presidential Scholar. Her major is Cyber Security with a minor in Psychology. Their younger sister, Mackenzie (Z) Mills, 17 years old, attends Waxahachie High School. She is Captain of the Culinary Team and a member of National Honor Society.