Streaming Speech Tournaments
Speech tournaments are the highlight of every slightly nerdy kid’s Friday night. Intellectuals gather in host schools and compete in various events regarding their judgment of current events. These students spend hours preparing by talking to mirrors or walls. The St. Agnes Speech Team is no different.
The forensics club at SAA is successfully led by teacher Sherri Perry. Students are instructed in the possible speech events and are allowed to choose which they would like to compete in. Personally, I compete in oratory, which is 10 minutes where the speaker must educate and inspire the room to incite change on a certain social or personal way of life. This opportunity for a voice is a lifeline for many students as it helps them feel heard in their communities.
The National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) made sure that it would endure through coronavirus. The NSDA is allowing students to send in videos of themselves or participate in live rounds. This has enabled many more students from various high schools to participate because less time is spent than at an actual tournament. More competitors means it is harder to move on to further rounds, yet the St. Agnes team continues to prosper through the hard work of our group. A system of executives organizes zoom practices where experienced members will have the opportunity to educate and aid lower-classmen.
Our executive team is trying to maintain the connection and unity with all the participants. The success of each competitor is put on themself, but Nicole Hay (‘21), speech president, believes that “Virtual practices and tournaments have helped members grow in their speaking skills and overall responsibility as team members.” Making a video allows for multiple takes ensuring a good presentation, though, without an audience, you cannot gauge a reaction to your speech. With the ability to take multiple videos, many students struggle when doing their speeches live over the NSDA platform. Practice and preparation are key to success and the St. Agnes community has recently been experiencing a lot of that.
Since the beginning of the Texas Forensics Association season of 2020 to 2021, St. Agnes has placed fifth, fourth and third in oratory as well as informative. St. Agnes has seen major success in its first three tournaments of the year from their debate team also with 8 students receiving top speaker awards. We will perform with poise, grace and many jokes ridiculing life experiences. Though we all miss running to the score sheets and walking around in suit jackets and pajama pants, home is our new stage.
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