John Marshall Speech Reaches Milestone


Ola Adebayo

Allison Fibison, EIC

On April 21,  the John Marshall speech team sent Ali Hezeil, Micaela Buda, Rebecca Frei, Zibby Trewartha-Weiner and Ola Adebayo to the 2017 state tournament. The result was our first state champion. Ola placed first in her section (poetry), and Micaela, also in poetry, placed eighth. In addition, Ali placed 5th in her category (discussion).  Mrs. Neiland one of the speech coaches at John Marshall had a lot to say about the teamwork and dedication of the team as a whole over the season as well as the coaches hopes for the future. “Competition at state is ten times tougher than big nine or sections. The top 24 competitors in each category come from around the state, so you really have to be on your game in each round,” says Mrs. Neiland  in reference to the competition.

The tournament consists of three rounds, and speakers have ten minutes to present their speech to a judge and the five to seven other speakers in the room. Speakers are scored on a scale  from  1-5 (the lower number is better). Scores  from those three rounds are added up to determining the final standings.  If a speaker makes the top 7, then he goes to one final round.  But if anything the most important thing to know it that though the speech team loves to win their top motto is have fun.  “First of all it was amazing to have five speakers in the tournament, our section is very tough. The state competitors were so positive and just happy to be there, it was wonderful that they were happy with that success anything else was just a bonus. The posting of the finals on tv screens and the anticipation, excitement and relief of seeing speakers make it to finals was definitely a highlight,and we also ended up staying over night which was nice because we got to sit, eat dinner and talk which doesn’t normally happen because everyone is so caught up in the competition, ” said Mrs. Neiland.  Now John Marshall has its first ever state speech champion,Ola Adebayo.  According to Nieland, when Ola’s victory was announced, “ We jumped up and down and all hugged each other, and there were some tears of joy as well. The other great thing was the section coaches came over and congratulated us; they were just as happy as we were. Lakeville North has had tons of wins, but for a normal school it is a victory.”

Now what are the hopes for the future with a growing team and coaching staff  there must be some and what drives the team to make such a drastic increase in wins the last two years?  “We hope to send five or more speakers to state next year, and for everyone to grow and improve as speakers as well as have fun while doing it. We have had more coaching staff so we have been able to spend more time working with kids. Also we have had really highly motivated speakers who worked really hard and practiced, practiced, practiced; these are some of the key elements to our success.The team community, how inclusive and supportive of each other the team is makes also makes us successful but most importantly it is nice to win but it is more important to have fun. ”