Speech team places 21 at State

The speech team placed 21 students, including 13 who performed for their first time, in the state tournament scheduled for March 11 at Starmont High School. The district competition was on Saturday, Feb. 24 at Union Middle School.

Speech coach Rob Chagdes said, “We had an excellent showing. There were so many great performances, including many who pushed themselves to overcome their fear of public speaking.”

On the topic of how much progress students made, Chagdes said, “The week before the district contest, I met with a student who had never done public speaking before this year. This student was really stepping out of their comfort zone to try something new. The progress this person made was inspiring. Another student joined the team only a month ago, worked hard, accepted coaching and was one of those advancing to State. There are so many stories like this, stories of students who took huge steps this season, stories of progress, growth and more. This is why we do speech.”

Chagdes said he has high hopes for the state competition. “At state contest, there are three judges as opposed to one judge at District. This creates a different dynamic and can be more intimidating. The stakes are higher at State, and the goal is to get an overall ‘one’ rating. While growth in speaking is the goal, earning a one rating is a tangible sign of that growth. A very small percentage of performers will receive all-state honors, which is the most difficult thing to accomplish in speech. Only about 5 percent of performers across Iowa will be sent to All-State. If students perform to their highest level at State, that is a huge win. Our team has taken big steps this year, yet I believe the best is yet to come.”

Freshman Diya Pradeep did an Original Oratory speech and will be going to the state contest with it. “Districts went well for me. I think I was able to say my speech calmly and fluently. I think the practice that I put in before helped me a lot. I have been practicing for this since December and it really helped me perform well at Districts.”

Speaking on what she would like to improve on, Pradeep said, “I am hoping to improve on speaking at a slower pace and making good use of pauses. I am also working on becoming more confident in my speech. I will do multiple run throughs and practices in general.”

Twenty five different speeches made State, with five people having two different performances that got them to State.

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