Speech team’s hopeful start to the season


Marcia Anderson

The speech team preparing for their mock meet

Margret Jacott, Writer

Made up of 29 students, the OHS Speech team is an opportunity for students to compete with other schools through public speaking. There are a total of 13 categories that a student could chose from, some of the categories are a creation of their own speech, however, some perform from a published play or story. While the start of the team’s season is nothing like anyone pictured it would be, this hardworking team is making do with what they have. 

Normally, during a pre-COVID-19 season, the speakers would travel to the school hosting the meet and compete individually in a classroom along with their opponents, judges, and some spectators viewing their performance. However, now having to abide by the new COVID-19 regulations, each team competes at their own school. The speakers also records their speeches in separate classrooms which are later reviewed by the judges. Social distancing guidelines are also enforced this season. Coach Marcia Anderson said, “Other than when we have socially-distanced team meetings or lunch in the cafeteria, there is no person-to-person interaction and masks are worn 100% of the time except when performing.” The coaches focus on the team’s health and safety, along with finding ways to still compete and connect as a team. 

Ashton Jenson performing his speech at the mock meet

Though the outlook toward the season is a bit different, the team is still connecting, amidst the new regulations. Junior captain Julia Christenson said, “It’s definitely harder this year to feel as connected as we were past years, but now that the only people that we see in person are members of our own speech team, I think we are getting closer as a team.” Most students come to see the irony that is the virus is bringing the team together through the ‘We’re all in this together’ standpoint.

Despite having to adapt to a new system of competition, the start of the season has been promising. Senior captain Ashton Jenson said, “The season is going well so far. We are adapting to the unique format and doing our best to make it as rewarding as possible.” The new format mentioned is unique indeed. The team is using an online platform that was created by a collaboration between SpeechWire and the National Speech and Debate Association, which seems to be running smoothly. 

The team had their first meet on Saturday, Feb. 6 hosted by Cannon Falls. The meet ended with three varsity finals: junior Fardouza Farah got third in Discussion, senior Gabe Tratz got third in Informative Speaking and senior Ashton Jenson got first in Original Oratory.  OHS will host their annual meet virtually on March 13.