Speech Team Competes at National Qualifier Tournament


FRONT: Jason Scheller, Aaron Lutz, Gregory Quick, Nautica Flowers, Josh Groven, Jack Bechard, Paul Filonowich BACK: Ben Pankow, Raj Purohit, Joshua Drucker, Jenna Herbrand, Rachel Standal, Linnea Stanton, Elsie Goren, Emily Albert-Stauning, Tram Nguyen

Swati Rampalli, News Writer

On March 10th and 11th, members of the Eagan speech team competed at their national qualifier tournament. Qualifying for nationals is Jack Bechard in humorous interpretation, Ben Pankow and Jason Scheller in extemporaneous speaking, Joshua Drucker and Jenna Herbrand in duo interpretation, Elsie Goren in informative speaking, Tram Nguyen and Josh Groven in original oratory, and Paul Filonowich and Emily Albert-Stauning in program oral interpretation. These qualifiers will be heading to nationals in Birmingham, Alabama from June 18th to June 23rd. Practicing hard to get where they are, these students are nervous, excited, and faced with high expectations to do well.

According to Junior Tram Nguyen, the key to going to nationals is dedication and determination. She states, “You have to have this ‘I want this bad’ mindset. With tons of preliminary rounds, so many judges, and hours of talking, you have to go in wanting it bad.” Nguyen believes that her hard work and confidence in her abilities helped her achieve her goal of making it to nationals.

In addition to hours of practice, the speech team’s coaches also play an important part in students’ success. Informative speaker Elsie Goren says that her coaches really helped improve her performance. She elaborates, “They help me with writing my speeches and creating my visual aids. They also support and encourage me. Going in, I was really nervous because last year I didn’t qualify, but they were always with me and supporting me.” Acting as pillars of encouragement and motivation, the coaches help the speakers realize their talents.

Nguyen always knew she wanted to join speech. She confides, “I’ve wanted to join speech since 6th grade. I’ve always been an expressive person, and I knew speech would bring out the best in me. There was never a question in my mind on whether or not I would join speech in high school. It’s always been something I wanted to do.”

Contrastingly, Goren found speech as a way to change herself. Being a reserved person, Goren joined speech as a means to be more outgoing and assertive. She admits, “In 9th grade, I was really shy, and I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I tried out [for speech], and I didn’t think I’d like it that much, but now I really do.”

With incredible persistence and determination, Eagan’s speech qualifiers will compete at the national level. Let’s wish them good luck in Birmingham as they showcase their talent.