Speech team sends plethora of talent to State

Nearly two or three months of practicing long and hard for districts brought wonderful results to CFHS speech teams.

Saturday, Jan. 19, Speech Districts arrived and speech students competed in LaPorte City at Union High School. Speech teams from participating high schools go to their district competition and perform. Then, the judges will give them a rating of one, two, three or four. If team members receive a one, they go to State. If they receive a two, it means that they did well, but they didn’t make it to State. The same goes for a three. A four is equivalent to disqualification.

The CFHS teams that made State this year are Short Film, 9th grade Readers Theatre – “Cave Dream,” Ensemble – “The Pillow Man,” 9th grade Choral Reading, Ensemble – “Mary Just Broke Up With This Guy,” 9th grade Radio – “TWET 100,” One Act – “A Night in the Ukraine,” Readers Theatre – “Old Man,” Improv – Team Fienup and Choral Reading – “Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Being A Zombie.”

There are many different speech team categories to choose from, and for the coaches, different categories to teach.

“Over my six years of coaching Large Group and Individual Speech, I have coached a little of everything. Readers Theatre, Musical Theatre, Ensemble Acting, One Act, and Group Mime are some of my favorites (not that I don’t like coaching groups in the other categories) I just feel the most comfortable and knowledgeable in these categories,” coach Alissa Unertl said.

Each category has a completely different feel from the next. Sophomore Emma Redington from Readers Theater and Group Mime agrees.

“Improv is challenging since you make something up on the spot, and it takes a lot of creativity. I really enjoy improv though because it’s fun and hilarious to watch. Group Mime is a bit different from improv because you create an in-depth story that you practice many times before you perform. Group Mime also takes more facial and hand gestures than improv since you can’t use your voice,” Redington said.

Not only is the performing part of speech fun, but getting to know your team members and crafting memories with them is also something every speech team member looks forward to.

“The best part of districts is being able to see and visit with your friends. You really just feed off of each other’s energy to do the best performance and job possible. We’re all like a family and it’s very engaging,” sophomore Liam Tate, of Readers Theater, said.

Along with making new friends and performing new things, participants grow in their acting and speech abilities, and gain confidence in themselves.
“My favorite part of coaching is seeing the growth in students from the beginning to end. I don’t think that the students realize or notice their growth from practice to practice. They don’t see the change in confidence, or the ability to step outside their comfort zone to try something new. Fortunately, I do get to see it, and it amazes me every year. I am amazed by the amount of confidence that students gain in front of an audience from participating in speech. It’s something that they will be able to use, no matter what path their education and career paths take them,” Unertl said.

Though speech certainly is fun, it also takes a lot of dedication.

“Speech is a commitment. Over the summer I’m searching for possible scripts for different events, and once the season begins, I have practices before and after school, some days starting at 6:45 am and ending at 7pm,” Unertl said.

As aforementioned, performing in speech competitions takes confidence.

“Don’t give up. Speech takes time, and even if you don’t match your teammates’ abilities, if you keep going at it and keep practicing, it won’t be long until you do,” sophomore Lexy Jacobson of improv and group mime said.

Unertl agrees with Jacobson’s advice.

“I guess I would say to have confidence and believe in what you do. If you stand tall, are passionate, and speak to an audience confidently, they will listen,” Unertl said.

CFHS speech teams are performing Tuesday night at the high school for their recital and Saturday at Dubuque Senior for the state competition.

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