There’s so much to talk about this speech season


Kourtney Abbotts

Back row: Trinity Garcia, Molly Higgins, Bella Doner, Alexis Phillips. Front Row: Hannah Gibson, Nathalie Saldana.

Recently, students from ALHS have been competing in different large group speech competitions across Iowa. They’ve spent months preparing their pieces and getting ready to go against other schools to find their way to the next stage of competition.

Speech has different levels of competitions. They start at Districts and progress to State, and finally All-State. This kind of pressure can cause worry among the participants.

“For some kids, it’s no stress what-so-ever, for some it’s like they’re nervous as heck to get up in front of someone for the first time,” coach Dirk Waller said.

The kind of atmosphere at competitions can also feed into the performances of the students. First year Speech participant, junior Alexis Phillips, experienced this first-hand.

“When we went to Districts I felt like our group was really strong, there were a lot of good people there, and it felt like there was a really strong community,” Phillips said.

A group of female students from Abraham Lincoln, including Phillips, made it to State with a readers theatre piece covering the topic of feminism. The script showcases women throughout the history of time whose political and social advances have been overlooked based on their physical appearance.

Along with English teacher and speech coach Kourtney Abbotts, junior Molly Higgins played a role in writing the piece.

“I wanted to do a piece on feminism that was a little different than what we’re used to seeing these days when it comes to female empowerment,” Higgins said. “If you think you respect women, but you don’t respect Dolly Parton or Kim Kardashian solely because of their choices with their bodies, then you don’t really respect women.”

Higgins also competed in the improv category with senior Hannah Gibson, making it all the way to All-State. In this category, participants are given three prompts for a scene and two minutes to plan a five minute performance.

“A good team can be hindered by terrible scene suggestions, so it’s important to be creative and think fast,” Higgins said.

With large group Speech wrapping up, competitions for individuals are just getting started. On Feb. 29, Districts will be held at Thomas Jefferson High School.

Junior Madeline Knau is performing twice, once in the radio broadcast category and once with a literary program piece about a grandfather’s love for their grandchild.

“We end with stories about my great-grandfather so it not only hits home for the audience but for the judges,” Knau said.

No matter if somebody is doing group or individual Speech, there’s something for everyone within the many categories.

“I would encourage literally everyone to join Speech because it can bring out the best in everyone, teaches important skills, and allows you to express yourself,” Higgins said.