Pipestone Area Schools (PAS) speech team members participated in their first competition of the 2023 season Saturday, Feb. 4 in Worthington.
The competition kicked off a three-month season in which there are regular season competitions every weekend in February and March, including nine competitions for varsity speech members in grades nine through 12 and three competitions for junior varsity members in grades seven through nine. That’s followed by subsection and section competitions and finally the state speech tournament on April 28 and 29.
Last year PAS sent Hope Wallace, a senior at the time, to the state tournament. Wallace finished 12th out of 23 in the dramatic interpretation category.
This year’s state tournament overlaps with the PAS prom, which is on Saturday, April 29. Second-year Head Speech Coach Samantha Davis, an elementary music teacher at PAS, said some students have said they’d attend the state tournament if they earn the chance to compete there and others have said they’d attend the prom instead.
“That’s fine,” she said. “Good for them for still competing.”
Davis said there are 19 students on this year’s team, an increase from 13 at the start of last season. She said most of them are new with only five returning from last season.
Students on the team get to select from 13 categories to compete in. Davis said PAS students are participating in eight of them including drama, extemporaneous reading, extemporaneous speaking, creative expression, discussion, serious poetry, informative speaking and storytelling.
PAS speech coaches have been working with students individually since January to help them prepare their speeches. Davis said she brings a theater and performance background to the coaching team and second-year Assistant Speech Coach Emily Williamson, an English teacher at PAS, is well equipped to help students with writing and bibliography work. Former head speech coach and PAS English teacher Monica Sullivan is the junior varsity speech coach this year.
Davis said she was asked to coach speech last season and decided to take on the role again this year because she enjoyed it.
“It’s really fun and I think, as someone who also is still participating in theater as a hobby, I feel like I learn a lot from watching these kids and helping them out,” Davis said.