Allee and Kelly McCardle feel at home on stage.
The twin sisters are seniors at Wheeling Park High School where both of them recently had major roles in the Park Players’ fall play “Up the Down Staircase.” They are also captains of the Wheeling Park High School Speech and Debate Team, which will attempt to claim its 38th consecutive West Virginia state championship in March.
Both girls said they love Wheeling Park High School, and they listed Bill Cornforth, Josh Fromhart, Kayla Nelson and Jacob Galik as their favorite teachers. Kelly had a unique perspective in regard to why being a Patriot is special to her.
“You’re celebrated for having a personality here,” she said. “There are a lot of students, but you find your place. We love speech and theater, but I think everyone finds their friends and their talents.”
The girls said they are excited to compete for yet another state speech and debate championship, although there is pressure to extend Wheeling Park’s winning streak. They first attempted to join the speech team as sophomores, but it was a bittersweet day for the McCardle family. Cornforth, the Wheeling Park speech and debate coach, chose only one of the sisters for the team’s roster.
“I made it, and Allee didn’t,” Kelly said. “I cried when I saw that she didn’t make it. People were telling me congratulations, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Allee.”
When asked why she believes she didn’t make the team as a sophomore, Allee wasted no time in responding.
“Cornforth made a mistake,” she said breaking into a wide smile.
Allee can laugh about not being selected for the team now. She noted that, at that time, not making the team became a motivating factor.
“It made me want it even more,” she said. “And, now I’m captain of the team.”
Cornforth commended Allee and Kelly for their dedication to speech and theater. He said they have a unique relationship, and he has enjoyed witnessing it.
“They came to me as sophomores as two of the most motivated students I had,” Cornforth said. “They are twins, and they support each other, but they also don’t mind competing against each other. They truly are individuals, and they’ve both achieved individually. It’s been a fun relationship to watch. They are great leaders for their teams. They’ve each had big acting parts, and now they are captains of the speech and debate team. They’ve accomplished so much.”
Ohio County Schools Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones was the principal of Wheeling Middle School when the McCardle sisters were students there. He said they are intelligent and talented students, and he’s enjoyed watching them become the exceptional student leaders they are today.
“It was really neat to see them as quiet and introverted youngsters when they entered Wheeling Middle,” he said. “I got to see them blossom as people and become the fantastic performers they are now. At the high school, they are wonderful outgoing ladies who are leaders in theater and on the speech and debate team.”
Allee and Kelly both said they are excited to attend West Virginia University next year. Allee plans to pursue a degree in journalism and marketing while Kelly plans to study history. They said they will each be college roommates with current Wheeling Park High School classmates. Kelly laughed when she was asked why she decided not to be roommates with her sister next year.
“We’ve been roommates our whole lives,” she said. “We will see plenty of each other.
*Pictured from left are Allee and Kelly McCardle