OHS speech wins at sections

The Orono High School speech team members headed to state. Front row (left to right): Elaine Henderson, Emma Koltes, Shane Hewitt, Natalie Cumming and Jillian Dore. Back row: Andy Baran, Alex Berger and Jesse Bissen. Not pictured: Sophia Giovanis. (Submitted photo)
The Orono High School speech team members headed to state. Front row (left to right): Elaine Henderson, Emma Koltes, Shane Hewitt, Natalie Cumming and Jillian Dore. Back row: Andy Baran, Alex Berger and Jesse Bissen. Not pictured: Sophia Giovanis. (Submitted photo)
The Orono High School speech team won second place in the Section 2AA Minnesota High School League tournament held April 8 at Chanhassen High School. Chanhassen won the section. Eden Prairie, Chaska and Marshall placed third, fourth and fifth respectively.

It is the first sectional trophy for OHS, which has also captured six consecutive Wright County Conference championships.

Only the top three students in each category advance to state. Four OHS speakers were section champions:
• Jesse Bissen, serious interpretation-drama, “Parakeets at 9:48”
• Natalie Cumming, serious interpretation-poetry, “Checking Other”
• Jillian Dore, storytelling
• Shane Hewitt, great speeches, “What Is American?”

Also qualifying for the state tournament are:
• Andy Baran, second, discussion
• Sophia Giovanis, second, serious interpretation-drama, “Hal and the Sweetness”
• Elaina Henderson, second, serious interpretation-prose, “Help Me Find My Spaceman Lover”
• Emma Koltes, second, serious interpretation-poetry, “The Adopted Orphan”
• Alex Berger, third, extemporaneous speaking

The speakers are co-coached by coaches Barb Shofner and Julie McMerty, along with assistant coaches Tex Ostvig (discussion), Steve Ruedisili and Kris Kracht (extemporaneous speaking), Val Thies and Steve Ruedesili (great speeches), Nicolle Berg (storytelling), Jason Davidson (serious drama) and Amanda Vautrin (serious poetry).

An additional nine students reached the finals at the section tournament: Natalie Bever, fourth, informative speaking; Ella Gagne, fourth, extemporaneous speaking; Hanna Rose Harbison, fourth, original oratory; Nate Schultz, fourth, humorous interpretation; Carolyn Koehl, fifth, extemporaneous speaking; Tavo Moline, fifth, humorous interpretation; Josh Sheridan, fifth, creative expression; Ashley Clemens, sixth, serious interpretation-poetry; and Ben McKee, humorous interpretation.

The OHS speech team also received national recognition, earning a First Diamond degree of membership in the National Speech & Debate Association’s Honor Society. The honor is based on students’ speech and debate presentations, competition and service. The team will be recognized at the 2017 National Speech & Debate Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama, in June.