Eleven high school students - seven ninth graders, two sophomores, and two juniors - have taken part on the team, which is coached by high school media center coordinator Joan Nevitt. Nevitt said the young team has been dedicated and punctual throughout the year, sacrificing their Saturdays for speech competitions.
The students have competed in discussion groups, storytelling, drama, prose, creative expression, and humorous speaking. "They're really learning good skills," said Nevitt, "for business or whatever."
The revived high school speech team was composed of: (front, L to R) Alisa Schmidt, Callie Frieler, Melissa Bachman, Laurie Barten, and Melissa Andrie; (back) Hannah Felling, Maureen Flanders, Peter Schreifels, Sara Boeck, Jenn Terres, and Sami Tierney.
At the sectional competition at Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City on Saturday, Felling led the way by taking third in discussion. The top two advance to state later in April, so Felling will be the first alternate. She also earned a medal.
Ninth grader Melissa Andrie in discussion and junior Laurie Barten also reached the finals in their events. Andrie finished seventh and Barten eighth.
Also competing at sections were sophomore Sara Boeck and ninth graders Callie Frieler and Jenn Terres. The sectional competition included 28 high schools.
Discussion involves a group of students discussing a topic. This year's topic was discrimination, and varied between education, work place, and judicial aspects.
Students must do research on their topic before the competition, and then cite their research when discussing with their peers. "You use them to back up your opinions," said Andrie.
Nevitt said Paynesville's discussion participants have done a lot of research, which has helped them in competition.
Students are judged during the discussion for their involvement, their opinions and research, and their leadership in the group. "I like that it's kind of a challenge," said Felling. "I like to be intellectually challenged."
In prose, Barten used a reading from "Where the Heart Is," by Billie Letts.
At subsections on Friday, March 30, the team took fourth out of nine teams. Paynesville lost to Sauk Centre, Melrose, and St. John's Prep, but each of these teams had at least twice as many competitors as Paynesville. The Paynesville team beat every team with the same number of students or fewer and Upsala-Swanville, which had more competitors.
Felling led by taking first in discussion, and Andrie and Boeck took fourth and fifth in the event. Frieler was second in storytelling, and Barten sixth in prose. Terres was seventh in drama and advanced to sections as the first alternate.
Other members of the speech team this year were junior Melissa Bachman (who had a conflict and was unable to compete at the subsections) and ninth graders Maureen Flanders, Alisa Schmidt, Peter Schreifels, and Sami Tierney.
The team will hold its end-of-the-season awards ceremony in the high school media center on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
At ACGC on Saturday, April 7
Third: Hannah Felling, discussion;
Seventh: Melissa Andrie, discussion;
Eighth: Laurie Barten, prose.
At Sauk Centre on Friday, March 30
First: Felling, discussion;
Second: Callie Frieler, storytelling;
Fourth: Andrie, discussion;
Fifth: Sara Boeck, discussion;
Sixth: Laurie Barten, prose;
Seventh: Sami Tierney, creative expression;
Seventh: Jenn Terres, drama;
Eighth: Alisa Schmidt, creative expression;
Ninth: Maureen Flanders, humorous;
Tenth: Peter Schreifels, humorous.
1) Sauk Centre -301
2) Melrose -244
3) St. John's Prep -140
4) Paynesville -107
5) Albany -99
6) Holdingford -77
8) BBE -76
9) Royalton -48
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