Speech Team wins big at state

Evan Walker, News Writer

The H-F Speech team took home sixth place out of 32 teams on Saturday Feb. 22. The team earned this finish, with Ariel Davis who won first-place in humorous interpretation, the performance in the round ensemble winning second place, Jazz Jabulani with third place in original comedy, and Adeera Harris and Ava Jones won third place in dramatic duet acting.
At the Speech Showcase on Feb. 6, the H-F community was given the opportunity to view the team’s speeches before they went to regionals. Viewers were shown all the competitive categories of Speech and were subjected to everything from original comedies to informative speaking.
Humorous Duet Acting and Radio Speaking coach and English teacher Kanoa Mulling reflected upon how lucky he is to coach such a talented group of people and help them reach their potential.
“All that time is spent building relationships, making creative discoveries, and helping students find their unique voices” Mulling said. “It is always a struggle to find the right pieces for our competitors, and then once chosen, figuring out how to make the piece work with the actors. There is a lot of trial-and-error in the process of perfecting our eight-minute pieces.”
On the growth of the Speech Team and their improvement throughout the season, Mulling had nothing but positive things to say.
“This has been the most successful season I’ve witnessed with the H-F team either as student or teacher,” Mulling said. “We earned second place at the Downers Grove South tournament, the biggest tournament of the year. We defeated several teams that routinely take top-five spots at the State tournament. We have also won first place at a few tournaments.”
The Speech Team’s practice regiment has been both challenging and rewarding, according to Head Coach and English teacher Janine Stroemer.
“We have 14 events and in the state series we have fifteen, so what we will do this week is we will go look at last week’s critiques, see what the judges are looking at, and see what they want us to revise. If there are weak points in the delivery or weak points in the material, we try to tighten those up. A lot of time is spent just keeping people focused and centered.” Stroemer said.
Remaining focused on state and overall building the supportive family atmosphere that is crucial to development and the production of quality work, was the main goal of both Speechies and coaches alike .
Juniors and “Performance in the Round” competitors Starr Hollis and Nia Smith attributed the team’s success to an improvement in atmosphere and relationships within the team.
“We have certainly improved in communication and just acting like a family and including everybody, and making everybody feel like they’re important,” Hollis said.
Smith also spoke on how the teams improvements have ultimately led to successes in tournaments.
“I think some success we have had this year is people being able to break into final rounds and everyone just getting their time to shine,” Smith said.
Smith on her confidence levels , ultimately believed it lied in her first tournament win.
“My favorite moment is winning my first tournament, it was just an amazing experience, and gave me my first real sense of accomplishment in speech,” Said Smith
Victoria Olaleye, Johnny Kriarakis, Ava Jones, and Jazz Jabulani were common names that came up in discussion of who to watch on their journey to state. Since Kriarakis and Jones have two events instead of one, they definitely will have the spotlight on them.
Kriarakis performed in the “Poetry Reading” and “Dramatic Interpretation”, while Jones performed in “Radio Speaking” and “Dramatic Duet Acting”. Whereas Jabulani performed in “Original Comedy” and Olaleye in “informative speaking”.
Olaleye, riding high off of her recent victories at tournaments, was very optimistic going into state, and also talked about their recent successes.
“We’ve won about five tournaments as a team, we started off a little rocky, but we’re certainly getting better as the season goes on, we’re kind of a stress filled team so we tend to stress each other out, but in the end, the supportive nature of everyone really pushes everyone to do their best work.” Olaleye said
The fruits of their labor surely paid off in this top finish at state.