Individual Speech Students Heading to State

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Gordon Tuomikoski

Junior Cole Lewis rehearses for his State competition in the expository address category.

Gordon Tuomikoski, Editor-in-Chief

With five individual speech members advancing to the state speech competition, members are rehearsing to compete in a variety of categories, including musical theater, literary program, storytelling, and expository address.

Participants are judged on a variety of criteria and rubrics, which vary between different categories.

“The students are scored on voice, tone, eye contact, movements, memorization, etc,” said English Instructor and Individual Speech Coach Makenze West.

On top of numeral criteria, each speech can be unique and different.

Each category has its own requirements of length memorization or script and preparation or sources of material,” said THRIVE Instructor and Individual Speech Coach Lori Burton. “Some speeches are as short as three minutes and others as long as eight. Some are memorized and planned in advance others are read from a script and yet others are prepared on the spot.

The five individual speech students competed at districts on March 2 and they will all be advancing onto the state tournament in at least one category.

“I am very excited for State,” said junior Harbour Buchanan. “I can’t wait to see people from other schools perform, so I can learn more about speech and get some pointers on how to improve my performances.” 

Many aspects of individual speech were changed this year due to COVID-19, including in-person performances and the absence of an All-State contest.

“Besides the location of the contest, the biggest change is that we are not having an All State Festival,” said Burton. “This means students who are awarded the honor of being an All State Performer don’t actually get to perform, they get a medal and recognition but not the experience.”

One of the biggest struggles of individual speech is having to help each participant improve and practice on top of other activities.

“Our biggest challenge is finding a practice time that suits the needs of all participants,” said West. “Students in speech are often involved in several other activities.”

Students are heavily encouraged to try individual speech, not just to compete, but to learn about themselves.

“I would highly encourage others to join speech,” said Buchanan. “I would say that it is a great opportunity to learn what your strengths and interests are, and how to convey those to an audience and show them how dedicated you are. Although it’s ‘individual’, it really is a team effort.”

All five members who competed at districts will also be competing in the state competition on March 16.

“There are so many different types of speeches you can give,” said sophomore Sawyer Patzer. “It makes for a really neat challenge.”