Into the World of Speech


Photo courtesy of Stella Hoyt

Stella Hoyt performing at a speech competition.

Looking into the crowd before she hit the stage, she took a deep breath and prepared herself for what she was about to do next. 

Imagine yourself being on a path to speech where your voice will be heard and your debates will matter. Let’s enter the mind of the speech team. Emma Steiner is a junior on the H-F speech team. When joining the team, Steiner had no idea what she was getting herself into, but she knew it was something she’d like to do.

Before receiving her role in the speech performance, not only did she have to rehearse her lines a lot herself, but she also had to practice building a connection between herself and her partner.

“I practiced a bunch and met up with my duet partner so we could run our pieces together,” Steiner said.

As she simultaneously juggles school and rehearsals, she manages to make time for her and her partner to rehearse so they can nail their roles.

Whenever Steiner wasn’t rehearsing with her partner Devin Kenebrew or by herself, she would take breaks every so often to rest.

When I wasn’t practicing, I would take a sip of water and take a moment to calm myself or mentally prepare for the next performance,” Steiner said

However, this is Steiner’s third year on the speech team, and she’s grown to love it.

“I study lots of literature, theater shows and current events to keep my knowledge on current issues sharp and how to perform better or better connect with my audience when we aren’t rehearsing, I would be running over my lines or visualizing our piece,” Steiner said.

Steiner does have a strong love for the speech team program as well as the people involved.

“I love the relationships that you build with your teammates. Your teammates become your best friends and family super fast!” Steiner said.

Now onto the next big piece of the speech performance, Stella Hoyt and her one-woman performance.

This is Hoyt’s second year as a speech performer, and as she is preparing for the big role she took time to work on and study her character. From the time when she had to switch roles or switch the mood of the scene.

While Hoyt was preparing for her role not only did she have to dedicate a lot of time to it, but she also had to memorize her lines and make sure they were on point. This was difficult because she hadn’t performed her speech performance since the COVID outbreak.

“I hadn’t performed my speech piece since March so I had to really go through and slightly memorize,” Hoyt said. 

While memorizing the lines was a lot of work, Hoyt also had to spend a lot of time on character development to be able to get into character, and be able to study the part of the role she was playing to fully understand the background of her performance.

“When I first was doing this piece there was a lot I needed to learn. I needed a lot of time to get into the character and learn about the topic my piece was about. It took a lot of coaching and learning but it paid off in the end!” Hoyt said. 

Although Hoyt had to spend time balancing school and speech she still made sure she took enough time to herself. 

Even in Hoyt’s downtime, she still decided to rehearse her role to make sure she had everything down packed. Most actors usually have a why as to the reason behind choosing to audition for the role they did. Hoyt in this instance picked this role because it relates to her home life.

“I chose this piece because it was about a girl and her brother. I have a younger brother and we are super close and couldn’t imagine losing him. I could connect to it because of the sibling love and all the other emotions of having such a close sibling.” Hoyt said.

Once Hoyt found a good way to connect with her role, it allowed her to embrace the character more, and she rehearsed her performance better.

Hoyt’s love for speech grew overtime on the team. As time passed on not only did she grow a love for speech but she also grew a love for the people on the team. 

With this only being Hoyt’s second year on the speech team there are still moments when she gets nervous before performing. Although she tends to get nervous she still goes out on stage and performs like it’s a breeze.

Kenebrew, a very animated and funny individual from the speech team, was also part of the speech show. This is Kennebrew’s fourth year on the speech team; it did take him time to build up his confidence to get ready to perform for the big show.

Now when Kenebrew gets ready to hit the stage he already had in mind what it was that he needed to do due to him and his partner doing this exact performance pre-COVID but he also does it to make sure the crowd will love it as well. 

“Honestly I just thought of it as it was my first time preparing for it. I thought about how I performed this piece back during the season last year and thought of how great we did. I just went with what was best and got people to enjoy it,” Kenebrew said.

 When rehearsing and preparing, Kenebrew considered the feelings of his partner which drove them to an equal agreement and a better connection towards the roles so the performance can seem more realistic.

“So it was when we first were finding a piece that would fit the both of us. We first read a detective piece that we didn’t really like. Then we came across our piece, “Deep Sleepers’ which we both enjoyed reading and performing. That was the piece we wanted to use for the rest of the season and moving forward. ” Kenebrew said.

With this being Kennebrew’s fourth year in speech now he has grown to make many friends on the team as well as gained a love for the activity.

“The one thing I like about speech is the environment. It is just filled with a lot of positive vibes even though we are waking up at 5 am to drive out and be at a different school for the majority of the day. It is just great with how many amazing people I see every day in events that I am in and how many friends I made in H-F and outside H-F.” Kenebrew said.

Kenebrew has been performing in the performing arts section since third grade and ever since then, he’s grown a love and second home for it. 

Kenebrew has gained his love for speech and performing arts because he enjoys performing in front of people and having the opportunity of being in the spotlight.

“Performing as a whole, not just in showcases I love to do. Outside of sports, I like to perform in front of people and show them the skill I have with acting or other forms of performing arts. Performing has been my thing since 3rd grade and I’ve always loved to be on stage and just see people happy and enjoying themselves. No matter what, performing is my second hobby and my second home.” Kenebrew said 

So you see from these amazing performers that not only is speech a great program to better your fluent speaking but it’s also a  very welcoming and loving community.

Speech is also a great way to open one’s eyes to the performing arts world so in the best way you get the best of both worlds in one.