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Paynesville Press - April 17, 2002

Two PAHS students advance to state in speech

By Michael Jacobson

Melissa Andrie and Hannah Felling Two members of the varsity speech team qualified for the state speech meet by placing in the top three at sections.

Junior Hannah Felling (right) won the discussion event at sections in Sauk Centre on Saturday. Sophomore Melissa Andrie (left) placed third in original oratory.

"The team did great!" said speech coach Joan Nevitt. "Having two attending and speaking at state is quite an honor."

Felling and Andrie will compete at state in Eagan this Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. State consists of three preliminary rounds and then the final. "It's a grueling day," said Nevitt.

Felling and Andrie are believed to be the first PAHS students to qualify for state speech since 1983, when Andy Schuch placed first in Class A in prose. It is also believed to be the first time that PAHS has sent two students to state speech in the same year.

Felling was a state alternate last year after placing third in the section in discussion. This year, the top three from sections advance to state. "She should have gone last year," said Nevitt of Felling.

After attending state last year, but not competing, Felling made it a goal to qualify for state this year. She felt her performance on Saturday was her best of the year.

"I didn't act excited because I wanted to be humble," she said of her reaction to winning the section, "but my family saw my excitement. I was pleased. I was happy."

In discussion, students meet in a group and discuss an issue related to a topic. This year's topic was juvenile justice, with students discussing various aspects like school violence. Students need to do research on the topic to help bolster their arguments.

"It can be any sort of aspect of juvenile justice," said Felling. "That's why you need to do so much research."

Judges observe the discussion but do not participate. They judge the students on leadership, research, citing sources, and how they draw people into the discussion.

Felling is the daughter of Richard and Brigid Felling.

Speech team Andrie participated in discussion last year, too, but switched to original oratory this year. "I loved discussion," she said, "but I wanted to try something else. I could always go back."

"I didn't expect to make it," she said of qualifying for state. "I wanted to, but I didn't think I would."

She wrote her oratory about the state budget, especially how it funds education. She researched it by reading newspaper articles, looking on the Internet, and talking to local school board members about school finance.

(Her oratory ran as a Community Perspective in the Press on March 6, 2002, but she has revised it since so that it meets the eight-minute limit.)

Andrie is the daughter of Jim and DuDonne Andrie.

Speech team members this year were: (front, L to R) Peter Schreifels and Hannah Felling; (middle) Melissa Andrie, Marueen Flanders, and Sami Tierney; (back) Lisa Lenzmeier, Amanda Kern, and coach Joan Nevitt. Not pictured are Crystal Songetay, Jenn Terres, and Callie Frieler.

Sophomore Sami Tierney advanced to the finals in creative expression and earned honorable mention honors.

Sophomores Maureen Flanders and Peter Schreifels both competed in the humorous speech category at sections and earned team points for Paynesville.

Junior Crystal Songetay also qualified for sections but was unable to compete due to a death in the family.

"I think the whole team did awesome," said Felling of the speech season. "They've been really supportive."

Members of the team will be attending the state tournament to cheer on Andrie and Felling, according to Nevitt.

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