Last weekend, hundreds of teenagers got together at Blaine High School to see who could get the last word.
The students arrived at Blaine after qualifying to compete in the 2014 Minnesota State High School League State Speech Tournament held at the high school April 11 and 12.
Competing in 13 events, students from Class A took the mic April 11; Class AA students competed in the same 13 events the following day.
At tournament’s end, of the 17 students representing Anoka-Hennepin School District and five representing St. Francis School District, two finished in the top eight.
Those two, Melvan Washington and Miranda Rice, are both students at Blaine High School.
Washington finished ranked fourth in the Serious Interpretation-Poetry event after presenting “John Brown’s Body” by Stephen Vincent Benet.
Rice competed in the Extemporaneous Reading event. She was given a cutting of a story and had 30 minutes to read, practice, and polish her delivery. After her presentation, judged ranked Rice eighth in that event.
Other Blaine speakers who competed in the tournament (and the events in which they competed) included Rose Hogmire (Discussion), Hayley Pierce-Ramsdell and Bailey Rung (Extemporaneous Speaking), Kayleen Berg (Great Speeches), Marina Que and Joshua Bartels (Informative Speaking).
None of them finished in the top eight in those categories, but Blaine Speech Coach Ross Eichele was nonetheless impressed with their performances.
“It was very emotional and inspiring. Both final rounds were intense and amazing,” the coach said. “I’m very proud of all of our students. There are thousands of students who do speech across Minnesota. The top 24 in each category make it to state. Having eight students make it to state is incredible and I’m proud of our entire team.”
Representing Andover High School in the tournament were Noah Hansen (Informative Speaking), Simeon Toronto (Original Oratory), and Maddy Thor (Serious Interpretation-Prose).
Six students represented Champlin Park High School also competed in the tournament. They were Erika Guenther (Discussion), Sam Loidolt and Mark Ruprecht (Duo Interpretation), Kyla Hudson and Maddie Brey (Duo Interpretation), and Wesley Shirola (Original Oratory).
Five St. Francis High School students competed. They were Abby Olson (Creative Expression), Elizabeth Sadusky (Original Oratory), Sam Burville and Eva Lindberg (Serious Interpretation-Drama), and Shannyn Telander (Serious Interpretation-Prose).
Sue Austreng is at firstname.lastname@example.org