Student suceeds in speech, will attend national competition

Eileen Lagerblade, Staff Writer

For four months, sophomore Tara Djukanovic has been practicing for her dramatic interpretation speech. Just two weeks before the qualifying competition Feb. 13-14 she received her speech from “Sickened” by Julie Gregory. She is ranked sixth in the state for dramatic interpretation. Djukanovic and her coach Jeremy Fitzpatrick pulled sentences from multiple places in the book.

“Sickened” is a book about a mother who suffers from munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental illness in which the caretaker invents or induces symptoms in her child because she craves the attention of medical professionals. It is one of the most hidden forms of child abuse. Julie, the main character is a child whose mother suffers from this but nobody knows.

“The feeling we want to portray, that we want the audience to feel is to feel sorry for [Julie],” Fitzpatrick said.

Djukanovic is now going to 2015 National Speech & Debate Tournament hosted by the National Speech and Debate Association in Dallas, Texas June 14-19. To make it to nationals, the student has to place in the top two of their category.

Djukanovic placed fourth, but the student who placed first also placed in the pairs category so she had to compete in the pairs and drop out of Djukanovic’s category. The student who placed second is a foreign exchange student who was not able to renew their visa to stay in the United States for the competition. They dropped out which then allowed Djukanovic to move up to second place.

“[When Fitzpatrick] told me (that I had qualified for nationals) I was really surprised and really happy because this is basically what I’ve worked for my entire year,” Djukanovic said.

She will be competing against approximately 250 of the top speech students in the country.

“It’s a huge honor for a sophomore to qualify for nationals the other people ahead of her were juniors and seniors so for her to qualify as a sophomore speaks to how talented she is and how dedicated and hardworking she is,” Fitzpatrick said.