Speech Club: A memorable and outstanding experience

On the morning of Saturday January 21, while most AHS students were at home relaxing or sleeping in after a stressful start to the new semester, a select group of students were instead on a bus headed to Des Moines to participate in the annual large group district speech competition. Every year, several Ames High student groups spend weeks preparing for the events held at the competition. This preparation in turn pays of each year. At the competition Saturday, several Ames groups earned Division “1” rankings at the competition, earning qualification for the state tournament in early February. If any of those teams perform especially well at the state competition, they will then have a chance to qualify for all-state, the highest level of speech competition offered in Iowa. Even though speech club is one of the most popular competitive club activities at Ames High, many students believe that the general perception of the activity is different than what it actually entails. Although the first thoughts that come to mind after hearing the name “speech club” may entail frightening memories of speeches in English freshman year or a nerve-racking AP Bio presentation, events offered through the club are not limited to the typical structures present in classroom speeches of a classroom speech. “Speech club isn’t what people think it is,” says junior Ann Ku. “It’s much more than just giving speeches.” Through large group speech, there are a variety of events offered that appeal to a variety of different students. The events range from public-address geared events, such as TV News and Radio Broadcasting to more traditional acting events, such as One Act Play and Ensemble Acting. Regardless of what event a student chooses to compete in, however, large group speech is typically a rewarding experience for those involved. “Through my participation in TV News and Radio Broadcasting, I learned a lot about different aspects of speech delivery,” Ku says. “We learned about the technical aspects, like speed, pitch, and volume, and then how to integrate the three into a successful performance”. Sophomore Abbey Kosterman, who participated in musical theatre and ensemble acting, also found the competition to be a positive experience. “I love drama and music, and taking a Musical Theatre to speech contest is a great way to combine those two” she said. “Through comments from coaches and judges, speech contest helps you improve your performance, and have a lot of fun.” For students who are interested in joining speech, but weren’t able to compete at the large group competition, there are still opportunities to participate. Speech practices for individual events will begin in late January, and are open to anyone interested. Even if you are unsure about your speaking abilities, speech club is certain to be a great experience. “Join!” Ku says. It’s an experience you’ll always remember and never regret!