Life of a Speechie

Jaira Stanley, Feature Writer

Your alarm is buzzing at 5 a.m on a Saturday. You roll out of bed and put on a suit that was pressed and cleaned the night before. You pick up the black binder next to your pillow; it includes the speech you rehearsed so many times you feel like it’s tattooed to your brain.
The Speech team is one of the top teams in Illinois. With the season underway, a new group of novices is scoring high in competitions already.
Senior Morgan Harvey, a competitor of fours years, knows the hard work needed to excel on the team,. As an athlete, speechie and theatre participant, she warns novices of the challenges ahead.
“Speech is a real wake up call. It’s for people who are really competitive. People say it’s not a real sport but it is and it’s really intense,” Harvey said.
The speech team has turned students who were once shy to students who raise their hands first.
“We want to teach them skills that they can tailor to their lives. If they want to work in business, we give them that confidence and good articulation,” Speech coach Janine Stroemer said.
Speech students aren’t just teenagers who have spent months memorizing and perfecting eight-minute long speeches:; they form a close knit team that does everything together. Competitors work together as a team to accomplish their goals as one.
“If there is a student who wants to be an actor, we put them in an interpretive event to help them with character development. If somebody wants to be a scientist, we make sure that you have the ability to write down complex thoughts clearly,” Stroemer said.
But the trophy isn’t the goal; the fact of students embracing their inner actor and speechie is an award within itself.
“One of our big messages is that the trophy is nice, but it’s not what matters. What matters is that today is only one day in the big picture, and how you perform that day is not indicative of how you perform in life,” Stroemer said.
One thing that the team knows is that they have each other.
“It gets bigger and better; nothing had changed since I was a competitor, and all they keep doing is they don’t rebuild, they reload and go for the same goal,” Lowe said.