CG-HS Hosts District Speech Competition

Students look over their scores in CG-HS' commons.

On a blustery March 1, Clarion-Goldfield High School welcomed a first of its own: the first time hosting the Individual Event District Speech Contest, at which nine local students earned a “one” rating.

The day saw a total of 468 scheduled performances by around 300 students representing 26 schools, who were evaluated by 12 judges. Students are rated on a scale of one to three, with those earning a “I” advancing to the State competition March 15. Exceptional students at state are invited to perform at All-State.

Participating schools came from a 150-mile radius on a day in which March unambiguously roared in like a lion.  Nearly every room in the high school was utilized: for the speeches themselves, practice, and breaks for coaches and drivers. Participants camped out in the gym between speeches, eagerly waiting to see their evaluations posted.

“The community really pitched in,” said organizer Robert EnTin, CG-HS business and alternative education teacher, citing 50 volunteers from the school, community, area businesses, and (appropriately) the public speaking club Toastmasters. Volunteers timed speeches, ushered contestants and audiences in and out of rooms, and sometimes attempting the shushing of crowded hallways.

Senior Brody Studer – participating for the first time, and celebrating his birthday on contest day – performed the song “Whatshername” by Green Day, used in the musical “American Idiot,” for the individual musical performance category. He also performed part of Canto XXXIII from Dante’s Inferno for poetry, which describes Hell’s ninth circle, betrayers of hosts. “I read it and thought it sounded pretty cool,” he said of his selection. “I wondered if it had been performed before and I didn’t find any videos on Youtube, so I thought I’d do it.”

“I actually started crying while reading it,” said sophomore Bailey DeVries of her piece, “the Not So Perfect Child,” for which she earned a “II” – not bad, she says, considering she started practicing the piece just two days prior after taking the place of another student. “I love acting!” she enthusiastically exclaimed of why she took on the challenge, noting she also has a role in CG-HS’ upcoming spring play, “Just Another High School Play,” March 21 and 22 at 7:00 p.m. at CG-HS.

“I just got punched in the face by Robert Downey Jr, and it hurts so bad!” shouted junior Colton Langfitt in an accent that sounded German-Irish-Indian, during Improvisation practice. “Maybe next year I won’t host the Grammies after all!” In the category, students are given several characters and situations from which to choose, have three minutes to prepare, and five to perform. Later, freshman Kaitlynn Fields improv-ed in competition as both a horse dealer and investment banker, attempting to try on shirts that were too small.

Due the weather, by noon the facilitators were working hard to re-organize the speeches – opening a new contest room and staffing it with the auxiliary judge – to finish the day by 3:30, an hour and a half earlier than planned. Teams that decided it was most prudent to leave early had the option to hire their own judges or attend other district contests in the state that had been entirely postponed.

Read the complete story in the March 6 edition of the Monitor.