Speech team specifics

Myles Glandorf, Staff Writer

If you’re on the speech team, it’s pretty much a requisite that one must speak. However the speech team has a multitude of different methods of the act. In fact there are even two different kinds of speech teams, they are large group and individual speech teams respectively.

Individual speech is coached by Kelly Thompson. It works the same as large group speech, the only difference being that only one person performs instead of a team performance.

There are two different types of large group speech and debate team, the National Forensic League (NFL) and the Iowa High School Speech Association (IHSSA). It is coached by Brenda Smrdel.

The main differences between the NFL and the IHSSA are the events held and the level of competition.

The IHSSA has a wide variety of events for one to participate in, but they can only compete a maximum amount of three times. There is districts, where everybody can compete in multiple events. If they get a division 1  ranking at the district competition, then they earn a spot at state. Then at state the performers are assessed by a panel of three judges. If the performers earn three division 1 or are awarded two out of three division 1s, then they will receive an overall division 1 superior rating. At state one can earn a slot at all-state for IHSSA. Making it to all-state requires at least two out of the three judges at state to nominate the performers who they consider outstanding.

“Just because you have a division 1 rating does not mean you’re outstanding,” Smrdel said. “(Going to all-state is) like going above and beyond, what the judges thought were truly the best of the best.” For example in group improvisation, over 700 groups compete at the district level but only about the top 20 or 30 end up making it to the all-state competition. “They usually say its the top 2% of all students who compete (that) actually earn that slot at all-state,” Smrdel said. “It’s pretty prestigious.”

For the large group speech team, there were two all-state nominations. The choral reading group was nominated as performing at all-state and the group improve was nominated as non-performing for all-state.

On the other hand the NFL has few events that you can qualify for a national tournament. Among those events are humorous interpretation, dramatic interpretation, original oratory, duo interpretation. IHSSA and NFL are very similar, but the differences lie in how far the competition goes. In the NFL one can qualify to a national tournament as opposed to only a state tournament for IHSSA.

The NFL is more competitive than the IHSSA, as they compete against students from other states. Members of the team will perform their piece at least three to four times on competition day. The members of the NFL go to so many tournaments that by the end of the season they have performed their piece over 50 times. On competition days they are ranked against other performers and if they win their round then they qualify for the finals.

“I like NFL a little bit better,” Senior Jordan Boge said. “You get to perform your piece more.”