Speech team practices for upcoming competition

Students work on memorization, delivery


Molly Schochet

Freshman Laniyah Thortan is assisted by junior Kaylee Quick with her speech Feb. 21. Speech has been working on their speeches for the upcoming competition Feb. 29.

Ruthie Posada and Molly Schochet

In preparation for their tournament Feb. 29, sophomore Semona Robel said the students have been practicing performing and memorizing their different types of speeches.

“Currently we are preparing for our February 29th tournament and we are all focusing on different areas of speech, so some people are doing original oratory where you write a 10-minute speech about whatever and then memorize delivering it,” Robel said. “Some people are doing more interpretation things with drama and scripts and then performing them and then some people are doing extemporary speaking, which is informing people about controversial or hot topic issues domestically and internationally.”

Assistant coach Sammie Leo said the students were able to choose their topics, allowing them to write about what they felt was important for a wide variety of topics. 

“The students are working on constructing speeches about what they think is the most important issue to them,” Leo said. “We’ve got some people talking about the stress that high schoolers face, other people talking about types of discrimination that they’ve seen, one student is interested in talking about colleges and how that impacts the workforce, but there’s a whole bunch of different topic areas.”

According to Robel, preparing a speech includes memorization, quoting relevant sources and practicing their delivery.  

“For some events, you have to prepare events and memorize it so a huge part of that is getting research from scholarly sources, and we have to be able to quote them and write our speeches, have it be 10 minutes, memorize it and then we practice a lot on deliverance; being able to be relatable but serious and incorporate body language, jokes and stuff like that in our speech,” Robel said.

According to Leo, she is a resource for the students if they need assistance with their delivery or finding which presentation style would be most beneficial. 

“Usually I focus more on giving feedback with performance, how they are annunciating the speeches, what sort of presentation style they apply and then showing them the tips and tricks,” Leo said.

It’s getting people excited to talk about things that are important to them, and if we can inspire that in students, then we are fulfilling those goals.”

— Sammie Leo

Freshman Laniyah Thortan said the way they’re required to structure their speeches can be difficult. 

“The hardest part is you have to structure it a certain way and instead of being able to just keep writing, it has to be a certain structure,” Thortan said.

Leo said the main goal of speech is to assist students in feeling more confident while public speaking and positive about sharing their stories.

“The general goals would be to make people feel more confident with giving speeches either in front of people or just for the sake of getting their story out there,” Leo said. “It’s getting people excited to talk about things that are important to them, and if we can inspire that in students, then we are fulfilling those goals.”