Speech heads to State

Alex Ehde Twitter Reporter

The Speech team head to state April 21. Speech involves an individual or group of students who are judged against presentation in a round competition.  Only a few students are invited to state every year from each school.

Last year, the only student from the school who was invited to state which was junior Noah Shrout. The speech team is recognized as top 10 percent of schools nationwide.

Speech is all about creating a message and sharing it with the audience. Most competition topics are without prepared speeches.

“In my category of discussion, everything is a natural conversation on a selected topic between co people. However, I research the topic prior to competing and think of strategies for how to win round,” junior Anna Duer said.

While everyone should be encouraged to join the speech team, there are specific traits a student should have when thinking about joining.

“The most important trait to have is a desire to want to improve public speaking skills and communication. A healthy dose of competitiveness and dedication to practice are also essential traits in a prospective Speech team competitor,” senior captain Governess Simpson said.

The most important trait to have is a desire to want to improve public speaking skills and communication.”

— Governess Simpson

Practicing is a big part of being in Speech Club. Like sports, the students have to put in extra practice outside of school to reach full potential.

“We have speech meetings every Wednesday, in which we run through important information for next week’s competition and perform group bonding exercises. Each student is required to practice their piece with one of our coaches for at least thirty minutes a week. To do well, it takes a certain level of commitment,” Simpson said.

Based on last year’s performance at state with only one student, the Speech team is hoping to have more students qualify for state this year.

“Our performance at the section tournament will depend on who shows up to judge and how we perform,” Speech coach and English teacher Laura Hammond said.

Most of the students on the team do not get to choose their topics to talk about, but they embrace the topic given and try to spread the message through their presentat ions.

“This year, I am performing a poetry piece about African-American Experiences in the United States. Racism has been a hot-button topic in our country for a while now, and I want to share my opinion on the issue in order to inform and educate others,” Simpson said.

Being recognized as top 10 percent in the nation is a great honor and might be hard to live up to the expectations, but the team is practicing hard to get ready for state. The team is glad they are nationally recognized, but they would rather be recognized in the school and community.

“It feels pretty good to be recognized as one of the top 10 percent of schools nationwide. We really however would like more recognition within our school,” Duer said.

“I started this speech team from dormancy 6 years ago. I started with zero students on the team and now we have over 30 students registered. I know we are continuing a legacy Stillwater has enjoyed off and on over decades,” Hammond said.