*Originally published on our beta site February 28, 2020. After several weeks of hard work and dedication, 10 North Polk speech teams were able to move on to compete at the state level after earning Division I ratings. The competition, held at Waukee High School, was buzzing with speech teams from around the state, with categories ranging from improvisation to choral readings.
The teams at North Polk this year were large in number. Several went out for the One Act, and many others joined Group Improvisation. A handful of the students participated in more than one activity for large group.
“We had more kids go out this year than ever before,” speech coach Susan Vernon said. “We had 47, I think 41 of them went to state.”
District Speech took place on Jan. 25 at Woodward-Granger High School. They performed throughout the day and watched their peers’ performances as well. Rankings were displayed throughout the day in the halls. Many of the groups received Division I rankings in their various categories of speech.
“We have some groups this year that I think are exceptionally good,” Vernon said about her students.
This year, many students who joined speech for the first time had the opportunity to perform at the state level, which was a highlight for several teams with first-year participants.
“This is my first year doing speech,” senior Jon Lehms said. “I definitely didn’t expect to go to state.”
Seven of the groups at state received overall Division I ratings, and three received Division II ratings. Of the seven Division I groups, the choral reading “Imagination” and the musical theater “The Boys of Broadway” have the honor of going to All State Speech for their prior outstanding performances at the state competition. All State requires a group to receive a judge recommendation in order to attend. The two groups will watch many other performances at All State Feb. 22.
“It’s an amazing opportunity,” Lehms said. “I get to go and see the other amazing groups perform!”