By Liz Wood 

Speech team ready to talk


Liz Wood

Left to right, Larissa Ford, Robin Gloss and Katie Moore returned with trophies form their first meet of their speech career two weeks ago in Rock Springs. The girls competed in Public Forum, an event that has been re-introduced this season. Gloss earned first place, Moore took second and Ford was in third place.

After a successful speech season last year, the number of students signing up for speech this season has doubled.

Twenty-two students from Carbon County School District No. 2 signed up for the speech season this year, head coach Brenda Ostendorf said.

Last year, the speech team brought home the 1A/2A state trophy.

Ostendorf said she believes the excitement of the success the team has had the last two years has contributed to the speech team's growth. "(The team) has an enthusiasm and compassion for their event and the team because they are emotionally committed," Ostendorf said.

Team members must compete in two events. "Last year, (the students) found it daunting, but after seeing the success and the number of points they gleaned, they have a hunger for more," Ostendorf said.

The team members are signing up for more than two events in many cases.

Public Forum is a new category that the students are competing in this year and involves a partnership, like duets. Ostendorf said she has a young group competed in debate, too.

The team had their first meet in Rock Springs two weeks ago and novice members returned with trophies.

Robin Gloss earned first place in Panel Forum, with Katie Moore earning second place and Larissa Ford in third place.

In the Panel Forum, the competitors are given a list of questions to prepare for a round table discussion. An evaluator listened to the questions and solutions presented by each member and ranked the responses and resolutions, Ostendorf explained. Effective participation includes supporting the information with facts and responding to the conversation, rather than presenting their own viewpoints.

The Rock Springs Tiger Invitational Meet hosted 356 entries from 13 schools.

Ostendorf said the novice members, which are new members to the team, participated in two events and observed several others.

Seasoned members, Jacob Dickinson, Katlynne Hytrek and Nick Smith judged several events and Nina Ford judged debate events.

The season officially begins with the meet in Green River on Dec. 12.

Friday, Ostendorf invited two professionals for an onsite workshop in Saratoga, featuring Demond Wilson and Zane Fross. Ostendorf said Fross was impressed with the onsite visit and complimented the team on their dedication vision. "Where else in Wyoming could I travel on a Friday night and have 22 young people listen to me talk about speech and debate," Fross said to the team.

Fross works with all teams throughout the state of Wyoming and is a District Tournament coordinator and works closely with the National and Speech Debate organization. Wilson attended the workshop via live chat and is the founder and president of The Perfect Performance.

The speech team has two assistant coaches, Bailey Jackson and Gayle Wessel, who work along side Ostendorf plus several volunteer coaches.

Ostendorf and Joshua Wood participated in the in the 2014 Wyoming State Coaches Conference held in Saratoga earlier in the fall.

As a result of the conference, Ostendorf said Wood offered to assist in the compiling a CCSD#2 Speech and Debate Handbook presented to all of the team members and parents.

Wood, a Saratoga Middle/High School Speech and Debate Alumni, has experience in drama, humor, duet, student congress and extemporaneous speaking.

For the first time, middle schoolers are involved in the speech team. Kailey Hytrek and Kirean Neville don't qualify as competitors, but volunteer as congressional medal candidates.

Also volunteering with the speech team is Fawn Hytrek, who is coordinating meals for the workshop presentations.

Other volunteers include Gerald Dickinson in extemporaneous speaking; Linda Dickinson, Maggie Christie and LeAnn Uhling, interpretive events and John Zeiger, congress and extemporaneous speaking.


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