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Trojan Speech Team is preparing for another great season

Team's first competition is Feb. 5.

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Linda Neugebauer

WORTHINGTON — Speech is a Minnesota State High School League activity that consists of 13 separate categories. Each of these categories is different and allows students to play to their strengths and interests.

Students are busy choosing interpretive pieces for humorous, poetry and prose, while others write their own oratories, creative, and informative pieces.

We also have several extemporaneous categories where students have 30 minutes to prepare and then present their work. Another category is Discussion, and the topic for this year is, “What is the state of American democracy in the 21st century?”

Speech offers something of interest for everyone. Each week when students practice with our team of coaches, they work on delivery, performance, and the finer points of speaking competitions. During practice sessions, students receive feedback, advice and assistance from older students, as well as their coaches, which strengthens team bonds and builds relationships between students from grades 7-12.

Students gain confidence, sportsmanship, public speaking experience and life skills in communication, which are useful in any career field they choose.

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Why choose speech as an activity? A recent survey showed that more than 97% of students that compete in high school speech are college bound. Speech strongly supports the academic skills that are sought after by universities and employers, such as critical thinking, communication and collaboration.

Even though the last two years have been a challenge, our students have been troopers. The 2019-2020 season was cut short due to COVID-19, and the 2020-2021 season was held virtually, which meant every student performed on a digital platform from a private room at WHS.

Even so, our students’ dedication and skills were recognized and rewarded when three of our students were All Conference speakers, four were All Conference Honorable Mentions, and two of our speakers, both returning as juniors this year, made it to the Section meet.

It is our hope to compete in person for the upcoming season and build off the success of last season.

Our first competition will be hosted at Worthington High School on Feb. 5. Our team captains are Jenna Hoffman and Elizabeth Martinez Castro. Trojan speech coaches are Brandon Caster, Erin Makela and Linda Neugebauer.

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