Speaking out about speech


One person is standing in front of a crowd and all eyes are on them. The spotlight shines bright as they deliver their speech, using a notecard as a reference. When one thinks of a speech competition, this is what may come to mind, however, it’s not the reality for modern competitions.

Rachel Wilkey, sophomore, is a part of the speech team and has been for the past two years. This upcoming Saturday, the team’s state qualifiers will be headed to Vinton-Shellsburg to perform.

Speech is so much more than standing in front of a crowd and talking about a specific topic. There are many different categories to compete in for speech and can be done as a solo or large group; Wilkey performs both roles. “I’m in musical theatre and improv,” she said. However, Wilkey will only be competing as a soloist for this weekends’ performance.

For many people, speaking, singing, and generally being in front of a crowd is nerve wracking. Even though Wilkey has experience on stage performing, nerves are still a factor. “[I get nervous to perform because] I always have to perform really early in the morning and my voice is not ready in the morning,” she said. However on the opposing side, Solomon Groothuis, junior, has a different experience before performing. “I make myself a little nervous because I’m not a naturally nervous person,” he said.

When Wilkey performs in the musical theatre category, it’s required that she sing a song from a musical. “I sing ‘Gimme Gimme’ from the ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ musical,” she said.

There are many different aspects of speech that make it entertaining and give students a way to express themselves. “My favorite part of performing is seeing people’s reactions when I crack a joke in improv; it’s hit or miss,” Wilkey said. Groothuis has the same views on competing. “I enjoy performing because I like making people think and laugh,” he said.

Whatever one’s views are on speech, keep an open mind to all the creativity and entertainment these performers put out there.


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