A manner of speaking

Bishop Ryan Catholic School sophomore Monica Anderson had her speech coach and teammates in stitches on Friday, trying on different accents and comical facial expressions.

Anderson, who was practicing for the poetry interpretation event, has been on Ryan’s speech team for two years and is thriving. This year she has already qualified for the state Class B speech competition in dramatic interpretation, poetry interpretation, humorous interpretation and, with teammate Regaen Zarr, in humorous duo.

Anderson, who also acts in school plays, is in her element on the speech team. She loves being able to express herself through interpretation of different material. The team also feels like a family.

“These are my people,” she said.

Teammate Tamu Kamba has qualified for state in serious interpretation and speech to entertain; Lindsey Bertsch has qualified for state in speech to inform and serious interpretation; and Brady Wingenbach has qualified in impromptu speaking. Other students on the speech team are Thomas Burke, a senior; John Salling, a senior; Erin MacLeod, a junior; Dominic Anderson, a junior; Meagan Behm, a junior; Katie Brunner, a sophomore; and Wyatt Smith, a freshman.

The team was revitalized when Katie Fast, who previously coached the Minot High School speech team, began teaching language arts at the school last year.

Fast, who loves theater, put together a brochure, put up informational posters and held meetings to encourage students to learn more about speech competitions. In her public speaking class, some of last year’s freshmen learned to love public speaking. All of the kids from that class who joined the speech team have qualified for the state competition. She also acquired an assistant coach in Mary Armstrong, a freshman at Minot State University who placed at the state speech competition when she was in high school.

Other Ryan students who signed up for the activity said they’re also enjoying the challenge. “I find it really fun,” said Burke, who is only in his second year of speech. Burke said there will be advantages for people competing in speech, such as overcoming stage fright or doing well in future public speaking. Fast said speech students do well in job interviews and in resume preparation.

Some events are harder than others; Burke said he finds impromptu difficult because, at the competition, competitors are given a phrase and then have to use it to create a 4-minute speech in just a few minutes.

There are 14 total events in speech:

Serious interpretation is an 8-minute speech interpreting serious prose from a novel, nonfiction, short story, essay, biography, autobiography, or diary (must be published). It is not memorized.

Humorous interpretation is an 8-minute speech interpreting humorous material from a play, poem, novel, biography, essay, autobiography, short story (must be published). It is not memorized.

Dramatic interpretation is an 8-minute speech interpreting dramatic material from a published play with stage directions. It is not memorized.

Poetry interpretation is an 8-minute speech interpreting published poetry. Song lyrics are also considered poetry. More than one poem can be recited to make up the eight minutes. It is not memorized.

Serious and humorous duo are 8-minute interpretations of drama, prose or poetry, done with a partner. Students can compete in both categories with different partners. Students are not allowed to look at their partner during the scene or to memorize the material.

Extemporaneous programmed reading is a 7-minute speech. At the competition, students are given a poem, humorous or serious piece and have 30 minutes to cut and prepare it for a performance.

Storytelling is a 7-minute speech. Students must retell a story given to them without props or notes of any kind They have 30 minutes of preparation time after receiving the story.

Impromptu is a 7-minute speech including prep time and speaking time. They must give a speech based on a quote and may use notecards.

Radio broadcasting is a 6-minute presentation, with two minutes, 45 seconds to three minutes reserved for a news reading, and two minutes, 45 seconds to three minutes reserved for prepared commentary. Students are given 30 minutes prep time for cutting and preparing news.

Speech to inform is an 8-minute speech prepared, researched and written by the speaker. It may not be persuasive. It may have visual aids and the speaker may use note cards.

Speech to persuade is an 8-minute speech prepared, researched and written by the speaker, who may use notecards. It must be persuasive.

Speech to entertain is a 6-minute speech prepared and written by the speaker. It must be funny or entertaining. The speaker may use notecards.

Extemporaneous speaking is a 7-minute speech given on a topic of current events. Competitors are given 60 minutes at the competition to research the speech. They may bring research materials with them to prepare.

Most students compete in multiple categories; Fast said the only one none of her students are competing in this year is extemporaneous speaking.

Students practice once or twice a week after school and can compete at several speech meets during the season. The state finals are April 28 in Bismarck.