Tom and Becky program announces 12 boys, 12 girls as semifinalists for 2024-25

Tom end Becky

Twenty-three Hannibal seventh-grade students presented speeches before a panel of nine judges at the Hannibal Middle School on Friday, March 15. | Photo courtesy of Melissa Cummins

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Tom and Becky coordinator Melissa Cummins announced Friday night the names of the 12 boys and 12 girls selected as semifinalists for the 2024-2025 Tom and Becky Program.

Thirty-three Hannibal seventh-grade students presented speeches before a panel of nine judges at the Hannibal Middle School on Friday, March 15. The judges’ panel was comprised of community leaders — the current Tom and Becky (Kael Viehman and Natalie Vandiver), and area teachers representing Hannibal Middle School, St. John’s Lutheran School and Holy Family Catholic School.

Becky semifinalists are:

  • Ainsley Ahrens, daughter of Todd and Lydia Ahrens
  • Macy Bates, daughter of Lance and Denise Hoag
  • Noveli Collier, daughter of Chad and Jayne Collier
  • Beila Hayes, daughter of Brandon Hayes and Kimberly Santos
  • Emery McHargue, daughter of Sean and Erin McHargue
  • Aurora McCoy, daughter of Darrell and Jamie McCoy
  • Zayli Miller, daughter of Daniel and Katie Miller
  • Tegan Murphy, daughter of David and Tracy Murphy
  • Molly O’Donnell, daughter of James and Amber O’Donnell
  • Sophia Pociask, daughter of Kyle and Christy Pociask
  • Alice Tucker, daughter of James and Bobbi Jo Tucker
  • Claire Ver Meer, daughter of Matt and Emily Ver Meer

Tom semifinalists are:

  • Korbin Asbury, son of Karl and Kathy Asbury
  • Ezekiel Freeman, son of Sean and Crystal Freeman
  • Matthias Gosney, son of Caleb and Jana Gosney
  • Dylan Harmon, son of Justin Harmon and Emily Trevathan
  • Liam Hiles, son of Jonathan and Melanie Hiles
  • Caleb Kurz, son Brad and Sara Kurz
  • Preston McGuire, son of John and Heather McGuire
  • Troy Nichelson, son of Kevin and Michelle Nichelson
  • Collin Steinman, son of Kris and Laura Steinman
  • Bennett Straube, son of Andy and Gloria Straube
  • Mason Tischer, son of Nick and Kim Tischer
  • Avery Yarrington, son of Jordan and Renee Yarrington

The 12 boys and 12 girls selected will prepare for the next stage of judging consisting of a test about Mark Twain, Hannibal and tourism within Hannibal. Each of the 24 semifinalists will be interviewed in 10-minute interviews on Friday, April 19 at Hannibal-LaGrange University before a panel of judges consisting of business owners, community leaders and individuals familiar with the tourism industry, Mark Twain and the Tom and Becky Program.

The Tom and Becky Program, created in 1956, selects Hannibal youths who portray Twain’s famous couple, Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher, and serve as goodwill ambassadors for the city of Hannibal.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The number of Hannibal seventh-grade students who presented speeches was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.

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