State Speech in the Midst of the Coronavirus

The Prominence of the 2021 Season

Sophie Hoffmeier, Newspaper Editor

On Feb. 6, 2021, North Polk held their own group state speech contest at the high school to allow students to compete in front of their three judges. Two weeks ago, North Polk held their group district speech contest, with the majority of the groups moving on to state. These groups competed within a variety of group categories, for example, improv, ensemble, musical theater, and short film.

One of the short film groups created a film entitled “Lazy Dave and the Simple Syllabus”. The short film, lasting for five minutes, follows the story of a student being confronted by his teacher about not turning in the syllabus for the class. The film follows the student’s rather hilarious adventure-filled excuse of why he could not turn in the syllabus.

“Participating in short film felt like recording the antics that happen when hanging out with friends,” junior Wyatt Johnston said. “We had to put up our masks between shots, but we did minimal filming inside. We mostly filmed outside, so our filming was not affected too much.” 

Larger groups, like the one-act, faced some obstacles when it came to practices and putting together a large performance. Sophomore Grace Wolff participated in this year’s one-act, “Ella Cinder’s Blues”.

“We all had to wear masks, which affected people with quieter voices,” Wolff said. “We also had someone get sick the day before the performance, so we had to have someone fill in rather quickly. Luckily, we received a I (one) at districts, so we were able to move onto state.”

The speech coaches also felt that this season was a special and unforgettable one, especially to North Polk alum Brandon Barr. Barr was able to coach improv and some musical theater this year. 

“Speech was my favorite part of high school and I wanted to find a way to be involved before I take the classes to judge [speech],” he said. “I love working with the students because even the ones I knew from high school have grown up so much in a year. It’s fun to watch them put so much work into something I cared about.” 

Three groups received straight I ratings at state speech. The ensemble “My Big Fat Greek Divorce”, the freshman improv group, and the senior girls choral reading “Smile” all received a rating of I from all three judges. The short film “Everything Comes to an End”, the ensemble “Scary Movie Medley”, the sophomore through senior improve group, the musical theaters “Friendship” and “Teen Beach Movie”, the one-act “Ella Cinder’s Blues”, and the mime “Crossroads” also received overall division I (one) ratings. The short film “Lazy Dave and the Simple Syllabus”, the ensemble “Three Fairy Godmothers”, and the freshman musical theater “Six” received overall division II (two) ratings. 

Overall, state speech proved to be an unforgettable season for the students and coaches alike. This year’s state contest gave the speech students many obstacles, but they were able to overcome these inconveniences and give fantastic performances for the audiences and judges! Congratulations to each and every speech group!