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Speech, only different

January 31, 2010 - Cindy Votruba
Watching the Marshall speech students decked out in their neat black suits Friday as they scanned the walls to see where their first round would be, talking to walls for practice and leaning against walls as they waited their turn to go on reminded me of the days when I was in speech’s cousin Forensics at Somerset High School. Most of the categories are the same. I was only in Forensics for two years. My junior year, I got stuck in four-minute speeches as categories I wanted already had enough members in them. My topic was “Teens Watching Soaps.” My only sources were a Soap Opera Digest article and I think one from Seventeen magazine. Needless to say that while my topic was interesting, it didn’t get me far.

So I was able to get in poetry for my senior year. At first I wanted to do Louis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” for one of my poems as I had to memorize it for seventh-grade English (I still remember it 25 years later). But that poem, along with “Wynken, Blinken and Nod” wasn’t working for me. I switched to Carl Sandberg poems. And this painfully shy student made it to State. I had to choose different poems for the competition, so I went with Langston Hughes. My first poem was “Battle of the Landlord,” in which I developed a slight southern accent. I also did Hughes’ poem “America.”

State was in Madision, Wis. Kids dressed up, but not in black suits. I had my all-purpose green dress (also wore it to NHS induction ceremony and my eventual graduation). Just before I was to go in front of the judges, it started to storm. You could hear thunder rolling behind me. But this nervous speaker got through her poems and breathed a sigh of relief. I ended up getting third in my category. Not bad for the shy senior.

 
 

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