Speech Team Goes to State!
The weekend of February 17th and 18th was a huge one for the Centennial Speech Team as they went to the Peoria Civic Center to compete in the IHSA Speech State Competition. The Centennial Speech Team knocked them dead as senior David Kessler got 5th place for Dramatic Interpretation; junior Rebecca Ferrer received twelfth place for Oratory Declamation; junior Brieana Williams earned thirteenth place for Informative Speaking; and junior Joshua Ferrer attained thirteenth place for Extemporaneous Speaking.
Ryan Carlson, the head coach of the team, could not have been more proud. “This was by far the best team that I have ever been involved with in the twenty years as a performer, judge and coach by far. I’ve coached some special teams and been on some special teams, but this team is the best by far.”
The mere fact that the Centennial Speech Team got to compete at State was a big accomplishment in of itself. “Getting to Compete at state was a fantastic experience,” recalled Rebecca Ferrer. “It was great being able to compete alongside such talented competition and learn from their performances. My experience at speech has motivated me to work that much harder next year to get back to that level of competition.”
Senior David Kessler, who has been a speechie (Speech team member) for more than three years, has plenty of reasons to be proud, for he has had the honor to be the first state medalist for Centennial in over nine years. “This speech season exceeded my greatest expectations,” said David Kessler. “Being a State Medalist in Dramatic Interpretation is a memory I will have for the rest of my life.” Kessler performed “The Autobiography of a recovering skinhead: the Frank Meeink story” as a dramatic interpretation and has gotten the fifth place medal for it.
Speech Chargers who did not get a chance to compete on the regional or sectional team also got a chance to shine at State performing “Daisy Head Maizie” by Dr. Seuss at the “Performance in the round”, a short comedic or dramatic fifteen minute play confined in a circular arena. The Performance In the round members included Andrew A. Lee, Anne Zola, Aradhana Sridara, Derek Schneider, Faith Middleton, Jack Reeder, James Akinleye, Jason Banks, Jenny Ye, Mecca Muhammad, Rami Ahmed, Richele Miller, Ryan Thomas and Vishal Patel; where the team won seventeenth place. When asked about her experience doing “Performance in the Round” Jenny Ye replied “PIR was an once-in-a-lifetime experience. The people, the script, and the overall atmosphere made it unbelievable enjoyable. At a glance, PIR looks like a jumble of friends who don’t seem to belong together. However looking closer, PIR is a group of friends that care deeply for one another.”
A heaping load of credit and thanks is necessary for the two coaches Ryan Carlson and Jennifer Lill, Former head coach of the Centennial team Stanley Yanchez, former competitors of the Centennial team Katie Apperson and Iman Eikram, U of I coaches Kevin Daliva, Reiana Mahan, Arianna Rudawski and many more for sacrificing long hard hours for their success. “Personally the U of I coaches have helped me pick out events that I find enjoyable. At the first meeting I told them my interests and they named events that matched. They also showed me events that I would not have chosen on my own, such as Informative Speaking, and without them pushing me to take on a second event, I wouldn’t be as strong a speaker and I wouldn’t have gone to state for informative speaking,” remembered Brieana Williams. “I believe the U of I coaches have helped the team discover more talent and have opened new opportunities for competing such as new tournaments as well as PIR.”
As the speech season comes to a close, speechies like Joshua Ferrer reflect on their year. “This year overall has far exceeded all of my expectations for the seasons. That said, it was definitely a bumpy one. One week I would be double tournament champion, the next I wouldn’t break either of my events. These setbacks more than anything else motivated me to work harder, and helped me to end my season on a high note. I can’t wait for next year, which will be my fourth and last year doing forensics (competitive speaking).” Joshua isn’t the only one excited for next year’s speech season. Freshmen, sophomore and junior speechies are already picking out pieces they may want to perform next year and events they may be interested in. While it may be too late to join speech team this year, there is always the opportunity to join next year, if you are not a senior. On why people should consider joining Speech team next year, Joshua makes the case that “speech team is a great competitive scholastics activity. Besides being lots of fun and meeting new friends, speech team will help you to become a better public speaker. You’ll gain more confidence as a person, and the communication skills you learn in speech will be invaluable later on in life.”