Team sends improv group to ‘Super Bowl’ of speech

Friday, February 14, 2020
The Alta-Aurelia Group Speech Team - Front: Piper Graham, Lily Buckendahl, Sierra Hill, Jessica Larson, Ellie Kaskey, Joelle Arnts, Grace Arnts. Middle: Sarah Cummins, Tegan Owens, Simon Carlson, Brennan Shea, Jimena Mendoza, Shea Lockin, Lydia Feis, Amelia Damewood, Ava Graham. Back: Kyla Galvin, Harrison Price, Lucas McKenzie, Diogo Sliefert, Caden Shea, Sydney Stanton, Abigail Marcos, Katie Bryant, Madlin Wipperling. /Photo submitted

The Alta-Aurelia Warrior Speech Team had a full weekend Feb. 8 and 9. On Saturday the 8th, they performed at the State Speech Contest in LeMars. The team brought six entries which each received overall Division 1 (Excellent) ratings. Readers Theatre “Dear Speech Diary” was the only Warrior Speech Team entry to earn straight 1’s.

Especially great news is that “Group Improvisation” was nominated to perform at the All-State Large Group Speech Festival on Feb. 22 in Ames. The group consists of Sydney Stanton, Sierra Hill, Ellie Kaskey and Jessica Larson. All-State is not a competition, but a celebration of excellence, according to the coaches. At the All-State Festival, a professional artist critiques the performances. “All-State is truly an honor. It’s like going to the Super Bowl,” head speech coach Carrie Buddenhagen said.

On Sunday the 9th, the team performed their six entries at the 2020 Warrior Large Group Speech Showcase at the Roxy in Alta. The performances included takes on pop culture, a great deal of humor, and insight into what it is like to compete on speech team. In addition, seniors were honored with “senior recognition” as Buddenhagen spoke about each of them and her time with them over the years. Seniors are Grace Arnts, Lucas McKenzie, Jimena Mendoza, Caden Shea, Diogo Sliefert and Sydney Stanton. 

The All-State bound Group Improv students: Sierra Hill, Ellie Kaskey, Sydney Stanton, Jessica Larson.

Stanton joined speech team because she likes performing, watching competitions and in particular All-State, and enjoyed watching her two sisters on the team in the past. “It made me want to have that kind of experience,” she said.

Jimena Mendoza is another senior who appreciates what she gleaned from speech team. She likes the teamwork aspect, and added, “It gives you a great experience to talk in front of people.” A highlight of hers occurred last Saturday at the State Speech Contest when her group’s performance of Readers Theatre “Dear Speech Diary” earned straight 1’s.

Hard work and commitment was a recurring theme at the showcase from coach and students with mention of getting up early for all of the required rehearsals and stress of performing and awaiting results, yet all agreed it was well worth it.

The 2019-2020 speech titles and members are:

Choral Reading, “Speecher Things” - Lucas McKenzie, Caden Shea, Diogo Sliefert, Sydney Stanton, Sierra Hill, Ellie Kaskey, Jessica Larson, Kyla Galvin, Shea Lockin, Tegan Owens, Brennan Shea, Lily Buckendahl, Sarah Cummins, Ava Graham, Piper Graham

Ensemble Acting, “Toto Too” - Grace Arnts, Lucas McKenzie, Joelle Arnts, Lily Buckendahl, Lydia Feis

Group Improvisation - Sydney Stanton, Sierra Hill, Ellie Kaskey, Jessica Larson

Ensemble Acting, “Story of a Boy” - Jimena Mendoza, Diogo Sliefert, Abigail Marcos, Amelia Damewood

TV News - Caden Shea, Simon Carslon, Brennan Shea, Harrison Price

Readers Theatre, “Dear Speech Diary” - Grace Arnts, Jimena Mendoza, Abigail Marcos, Simon Carlson, Amelia Damewood, Shea Lockin, Joelle Arnts, Katie Bryant, Lydia Feis, Harrison Price, Madlin Wipperling