Speech Competition

15 Nov

My kids (ages 10 and 13) participate in Speech Team.  We never had a Speech Team in my school, so before they joined I wasn’t familiar at all with it.  Let me give you a little rundown on my interpretation of how this works.

When the students compete in speech, they don’t compete against each other but against a set of criteria like:

Can the judge hear you?

Did you articulate well?

How much feeling you put into it? etc.  I don’t know the criteria – I’m not sure my kids know the criteria!

There are also different categories.  DJ (13yo) chose a solo; Gianna (10yo) was in a duet with another 10yo – Anna.  Both were comical skits.  There’s also improv and chorale readings (where a large group reads poetry) and small groups of 3 or 4.  The skits are copyrighted (although I think you can write your own too) and our school picks the skits for the person/team.  They’ve been practicing for eight weeks for this ONE competition.  So you “do or die” in 5-10 minutes.  It’s really acting – with no props or costumes.

 Gianna and Anna did a “cheerleading” skit where Gianna was a peppy girl who just tried out for the squad and Anna was a mopey girl who also tried out but her tryout was a parody of errors.  I don’t know why they got a second place; I thought it was great!  Anna was a little hard to hear – she could have projected her voice a bit more.  Gianna fidgeted a bit with her hands.  But that’s all I saw that needed improvement.  Even the coaches were shocked that they didn’t get a first.  But she should get the judge’s feedback in a week or so and she’ll hear then what to improve on.

 DJ did a solo called “Reverend Roy Bob’s Secret to Success”.  It was a “tele-commercial” about sending him $49.95 for a pyramid scheme that will turn your life around.  DJ was such a “Jay”. Jay is my brother.  He never showed any propensity to acting, then in high school he did  a piece from “Hamlet ” and just blew everyone away!  DJ’s speech was just like that.  DJ was a natural – he had the whole audience wrapped up in his talk.  Afterwards, the judge in his room pulled him aside and told him that in all the years of judging, that was one of the BEST he’s ever seen.  The judge said that DJ was made to do solos and he hoped DJ stuck with both speech team and this solo competition.

 Well, to make a long story longer…  the judges can nominate one act that they’ve seen that night as their “Judge’s Choice”.  That act/speech went above and beyond – kinda like “better than first place”.  And this judge gave that award to DJ.  Cool huh?

 They announced it at school but DJ was at the high school taking Math class so he didn’t hear it.  Then he came to school and all these people/students were congratulating him in the hall  and he was wondering, “What?”  He said even kids that weren’t in speech were congratulating him. LOL  His coach came and told him about it and Gianna told him after school that they announced it and then he said, “Oh… now that makes sense.”  Cracks me up!

 That’s it… a long story…  I think it’s great that our school continues to sponsor activities for “non-athletes” – even during this budget cutting economy.  There has to be a niche for all students.  The energy in this small school where the competition was held was electrifying.  Parents were there to cheer on the participants and the kids were all congratulating each other.  It’s really great to see that in a group of 10-14 year olds!

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