Eight OHS Speech Team members headed to state


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Top (left to right): Jackson Hemann, Dakota Kath, Julia Christenson, Coda Richardson Bottom (left to right): Haley Kjersten, Lileigh Nguyen, Makenna Hovey, Fardouza Farah will all be competing at the Minnesota State Speech Touranment on Friday, April 22.

Syd Hall, Writer

The OHS Speech team continues to excel and achieve their goals. For the 2022 season, OHS will be sending eight speech team members to state on April 21, 2022. Those members are Jackson Hemann, Fardouza Farah, Julia Christenson, Dakota Kath, Coda Richardson, Hailey Kjersten, Lileigh Nguyen and Makenna Hovey. All eight of these students have worked hard to get to this point and will represent OHS well this weekend at the state speech team competition. 


The OHS Speech team is made up of 38 members. Speech is a high school  activity that is divided up into multiple categories where students are asked to speak on a certain topic within the category one participates in. Speech is an activity that not only builds relationships and friendships with peers but it also teaches life long skills. Senior Dakota Kath said, “Speech has helped with confidence in public speaking and I think it helps a lot with portraying yourself in that way and learning how to present yourself better in a professional way.” Kath competes in the original oratory category. 

In total, Owatonna is sending four seniors and four juniors to the competition who all compete in different categories. Returning Junior Coda Richardson said, “The biggest life lesson I’ve learned through speech is that failure is okay.” Richardson competes in the extemporaneous speaking category which is one of the hardest categories to compete in. Speech categories can range anywhere from limited preparation to character driven drama pieces to discussion and everything in between. Farah, Christenson, and Hemann will all be returning to the state tournament for the second time. 

The biggest life lesson I’ve learned through speech is that failure is okay.

— Coda Richardson


Junior Makenna Hovey competes in the creative expression category for OHS. Creative expression is a comedy and drama category that is fun and enjoyable. Creative Expression is original work written and performed by the competitor.  Hovey said, “Not only will I be able to use public speaking for many group projects and presentations, but also having the closely knit group of people that I am able to support and be supported by.” One of Hovey’s speech teammates, junior Lileigh Nguyen competes in the storytelling category. Storytelling leans more towards the expressive and limited preparation speech categories. Although all the speech team members have different categories, the team stays close together and supports each other. Nguyen said, “I love that speech is a team event even if you don’t compete with other people.” 

I love that speech is a team event even if you don’t compete with other people.

— Lileigh Nguyen


Ms. Marcia Anderson, speech adviser, advises the students and helps them achieve their goals. Anderson said, “They are some of the best people that I am able to work with in my entire day. They are hardworking, kind, and helpful to others. They are not only supportive of our team but from other teams as well.” The OHS Speech Team represents Owatonna well with their kindness to each other and other schools as well. 

There will be a send off for the OHS Speech team on Thursday April 21, 2022 at 2:45 p.m. in the Small Group Forum.  The competitors will compete on Friday, April 22 at Eastview High School.