Speech is a school event that happens to be a mystery to many students. Unlike many of the other events in our building, not very many know how Speech works, or even what you do. The basis of it is stated in the name: Speech. Write something, present it, get a medal. But it’s much more in-depth than that – And as someone who was highly confused during their own first year of speech, I’ll be glad to explain it for you.
As stated, the basis of Speech is quite simple; write something, edit it, present it. Though category and topic play a big part in this! There are multiple categories in speech, which are the following:
OID – An acting piece performed with 3-5 people
Duet – An acting piece performed with 2 people
Persuasive – A solo piece persuading your audience
Informative – A solo piece informing your audience
Serious / Dramatic – A solo piece performing a drama
Extemporaneous – A solo piece researched and written in an hour, usually dealing with current events
Impromptu – A solo piece prompted and written in five minutes, usually humorous
Poetry – A solo piece with multiple poems connected in a performance
Humorous – A pre-written solo piece humoring your audience
Entertainment – A solo piece created by the performer humoring your audience
Photo: Ellie Geise performing a Serious / Dramatic speech.
Now, onto actually performing, and how flights work.
The first thing to always remember about speech is to be official and courteous: at every meet you attend, you are representing your school. This means that you need a suit for speech team, and while you are there, you should always be sure to act appropriately. You are being judged outside of your rounds. It might not be your judge for your speech, but it is other coaches and speech members.
Now, onto actual competition. There is always a Flight A and a Flight B at a meet, and to put it in easier terms, it’s basically two rounds. Inside of these rounds are smaller rounds- So, for Flight A, there’s a Round One and a Round Two. You always perform your speech twice, no matter what topic you choose. The only exception to this is “Extemp,” because both times you perform, you have a different speech written.
You are given a letter and a number: letter for your school, number for which student you are. You are also given a paper stating which room you are in, and how many other people are in your round. The paper covers both rounds. When you arrive, roll call happens, and you start at the time stated for the round whether everybody is there or not. Sometimes, people are DE, or Double Entered. This means that you are in two different rounds for two different categories, so someone who is DE could be late to their first round or their second round. If you are a person who is DE and you need to leave for your other event, you can ask to not only go first, but also be excused after you perform.
After you perform your speech twice, it’s basically a waiting game. There’s always a common area for all of the students to relax, more than likely a gym, and that’s the same place where finals will be labelled. Depending on how many top spots are open, you can break into the third and final round, which determines who gets first, second, third, fourth, and fifth or sixth depending on the category. If you “break” into third round, you perform your speech for the final time that day in front of two coaches. The final results after everybody’s third round are places and awards that you end up with.
That’s just a quick taste of what you can expect! There’s also team warm-ups, team bonding, practice almost every day until 5:30, and a group of wonderful people who are always there if you need help. For more information about speech, go hit up Mr. Krause- or maybe find one of the mystical Speech members themselves!