Students perform at speech team showcase, SpeechEasy


Speechies performed their speeches and original pieces April in the speech team showcase, SpeechEasy. This is the second time the event was held. Photo by Rebecca Hirsh.

By Rebecca Hirsh

American gun culture. Indecisiveness. Body image issues. Racism.

These subjects are the focus of four of the six speech performances from the speech team showcase event SpeechEasy April 17 in the WAUD. Around 40 parents and students attended.

Current speech coach Alexander Burnett (‘12) organized the first SpeechEasy during his senior year to provide an opportunity for parents and students in the communityboth with and without direct connections to the speech and debate teamto watch performances and familiarize themselves with the activity. This year, with that same intention, the team revived the event.

“Our team this year is especially strong because we have a lot of intensive juniors, really good seniors, and a lot of dedicated sophomores,” speech team co-captain Kyra Du said. “During this time of the year, we’re just figuring out how to best prepare for TOCs and Nationals and we thought SpeechEasy was a perfect way to wrap it all up.”

For the showcase, students delivered one of their prepared, full-length ten minute performances or shortened it into a three-minute speech. After the speeches, a small reception with dessert was held in the back of the WAUD. Plans were disrupted by the fire alarm, though, and the crowd moved outside as two fire trucks came to the school.

“They were fabulous,” parent Stacey Grundman said. “The presentation was really great and it’s so incredibly impressive that students are able to piece together a variety of sources into a coherent message.”

Speech is subdivided into two sections: public address, in which competitors deliver an informative or persuasive speech, and interpretation, in which competitors craft an acting-based ten minute performance from various literary sources. Each section has multiple events, and students often compete in more than one.

The night featured six performers: Du, sophomore Joseph Ferrari, junior Eva Herscowitz, junior Audra Fried, junior Lindsay Keiser and speech co-captain Valerie Akinyoyenu. MCs Dana Hernstadt and James Marzolf-Miller introduced each speaker and provided event descriptions.

“The students did wonderfully and I’m super proud of them,” Burnett said. “The speech team often gets swept under one umbrella and more students are drawn into debate, but there’s a whole crazy, amazing, exciting world of speech, and I’d love for more students to discover that and to find their own voices.”

Eva Herscowitz is a feature writer and Valerie Akinyoyenu is an online managing editor for The Black & White.