A day in the life of a speech kid
     2016-02-05      By Allie Mekolon    editor@geringcitizen.com
Around the middle of December, speech kids, better known as ‘speechletes’ or ‘speechies,’ become restless. Speech season is right around the corner, and their craving for early Saturday morning competitions is about as great as that of a pregnant woman’s for pickles and ice cream.

The months leading up to December have been filled with “speech mind” moments where these kids take every opportunity to find their speech topic. Every movie they watch, book they read, or conversation they have is filled with topic ideas, until finally, one day, a concept clicks.

Extemporaneous speakers fill the information box with current events magazines. Oral Interpretation of Drama team members begin to cut their scripts. Serious and Humorous Prose members perfect their character pops. Persuasive and Informative speakers find their credible sources. Duet members run their lines over and over again, and Poetry speakers search for the perfect selections.

The practices that occur in the weeks leading up to the first meet become exciting and stressful at the same time. Pieces undergo several changes before memorization takes place, and it’s ready for performance.

Finally, the new year rolls around, school starts after winter break, and season begins. The girls finalize their shopping for the perfect professional shoes, while the boys pull out their best suit and tie from the back of the closets. Scripts are printed and glued onto black paper, ready to be presented.

Saturday morning rolls around and moms are ironing ties, packing lunches, and curling hair before loading their speechletes on the 4 o’clock bus.

It’s finally time to compete. The ride there is full of sleeping kids, rehearsing kids, singing kids. They’re doing whatever they need to do to calm their nerves for the day ahead of them.

Upon arrival, competitors set up camp, where competitors reside when not competing, and head to a classroom for vocal warm-ups to get the team fired up, and ready to compete. This is usually where the coach gives the team members their codes. One does not compete under their given name, rather they are given a letter followed by a number to be called for the day. Rounds are posted, and it’s go time.

First flight rushes to their rooms as second flight decides what team member to observe, or if they would rather stay at camp and run their piece three more times.

Upon entering one’s designated room, they scan to see who their competition is. The judges call the codes to make sure all competitors are present, or double-entered, meaning they have another event to compete in.

Each competitor sits at their desk with heavy breaths and shaking legs as they listen to each of their opponents speak. It’s finally time to approach the front of the classroom, and capture the audience for the next six to 15 minutes. The round ends, and it’s an hour and a half until the next, where everything repeats.

After round two, the anticipation rises as the whole team waits at camp for the final rounds to be posted. Six people in each event will vie for first place, while the others feel their heart drop when their codes are not written on the finals list.

Everyone gathers for the awards ceremony after final rounds have been completed. Each event is called up and first through sixth places are awarded medals. The champion is also awarded a standing ovation and the feeling of a successful day at speech. Then, it’s time for sweepstakes awards, where the winning team and the runner-up is awarded, leaving some teams overjoyed and others heartbroken.

The bus ride home is filled with ballot-reading, food-eating, and team-building. Then, each member heads home, and repeats the whole process within the next week.

These busy, emotional days are well-known to local teams at Gering, Scottsbluff, Mitchell, Bayard and Minatare.

This past weekend the Gering and Scottsbluff speech teams competed in three competitions between the two teams.

Gering High School competed at the Millard West Winter Wonderland Tournament on Friday, Jan. 29, and the Lincoln Northeast Competition, where they earned sweepstakes champion. Scottsbluff High School attended the Perkins County meet where they were awarded sweepstakes runner-up.

Scottsbluff Senior, Katelyn Thompson, Serious Prose, was the only competitor to receive a perfect score from all five of her judges, ranking first place with 50 points in each round.

Scottsbluff Sophomore, Jatin Cranmore placed in the top six among informative speakers as a novice, or first-year speaker.

Scottsbluff will take a break this weekend before traveling to North Platte to compete in the Blue-Gold meet on Feb. 13. Gering will travel to Gothenburg to compete on Feb. 6.


Scottsbluff Individual Results:

Duet Acting: 4. Corr and Benitez; 8. Saenz and Empfield

Entertainment: 1. Samuel Willis; 3. Jace Henderson

Extemporaneous: 3. James Benitez

Humorous Interpretation: 6. Faith Reisig; 9. Rebecca Weis

Informative Speaking: 6. Jatin Cranmore

Oral Interpretation of Drama: 3. Corr, Mobley, Thompson, Scow; 5. Andrews,Corr, Yarnell, Weis

Persuasive Speaking: 8. Allie Mekolon; 9. Samuel Willis

Poetry: 9. Emily Andrews

Serious Interpretation: 1. Katelyn Thompson; 2 Nikki Mobley; 3 Faith Reisig; 4. Hunter Scow

Gering Individual Results

at Lincoln Northeast meet:

Hadley Kirk, Extemporaneous, 3rd

Hadley Kirk, Persuasive, 3rd

Collin Potts, Persuasive, 5th

Collin Potts, Extemporaneous, 7th

Carsyn Long, Informative, 10th

MaKinzie Gregory, Informative, 9th

Becky Boyd, Informative, 3rd

Becky Boyd, Entertainment, 3rd

Devan Hawkins, Serious Prose, 3rd

Keagan Heilbrun, Humorous Prose, 2nd

Allie Baird, Poetry, 6th

Jim Eastman, Poetry, 2nd

Dawson Johns, Nathan Prohs, Sydney Havengar, Sheridan Blanco, and Michael Haywood, OID, 5th

Jake Hansen, Austin Schilz, Danika Atchison, Jessie Svoboda, and Colter Robertus, OID, 4th

Devan Hawkins, Allie Baird, Keagan Heilbrun, Carsyn Long, and Collin Potts, OID, 2nd

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