Speech Team’s Successful Season

Freshman Aidan Carney earned several excellent ratings for St. Dominic's Speech Team this season.

Paige Hunt

Freshman Aidan Carney earned several excellent ratings for St. Dominic’s Speech Team this season.

Paige Hunt , Staff Writer

St. Dominic’s speech team just wrapped up their first ever season, and they are already making our school proud! Despite an uncertain start, the team’s talent and hard work paid off— earning them high ratings and an overall amazing first season.

The speech team was founded as an in-school club last spring, but their progress was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This fall, the team entered the Christian Interscholastic Speech League (CISL) along with seven other participating schools: Cor Jesu Academy, Duchesne, Nerinx Hall, Borgia, St. Joseph Academy, SLUH, and Barat. The CISL offers a wide range of categories including Radio Speaking, Story Telling, Dramatic Interpretation, Poetry, Duet Acting, and more. This year, St. Dominic attended three tournaments where students were able to display their skills by competing in up to two different events.

Sophomores Julia Kehoe and Lauren Kailist found their passion for duets when they gave a humorous rendition of Nick Zagone’s “I Can’t Think of it Right Now,” while freshman Troy Swiderski flourished in the solo events. Swiderski’s knack for storytelling was evident to all who saw his portrayal of “A Lump of Coal” by Lemony Snicket.

As with many things, speech had to be approached differently this year. All competitions were held over Zoom to ensure the safety of the participants. St. Dominic students met in the Performing Arts Center for their performances, so they could work together and encourage each other throughout the tournaments.

“Covid made it an exceptionally unique experience for our duet teams as they had to perform in separate rooms and could then only see each other on camera. It was also odd for all competitors because usually you have the other competitors in the room so you get audience feedback, on Zoom everyone who was not actively presenting was required to have their camera off,” Speech Team Moderator Ms. Holden-Nims said.

While these changes were drastic, they did not prevent the speech team from having an exceptional season. For many members, the challenges pushed them to become more self-assured performers, which ultimately led to their success.

That certainly seemed to have been the case for freshmen Robby Bell and Aidan Carney. In the last tournament of the season, the pair performed a duet entitled “Summer Tough” by Sam Graber. The story follows a young college student and his venture to the sea in hopes of gaining the attention of a woman. Bell and Carney received an excellent rating for their execution of Graber’s piece.

“High school [tournaments] are different only in the way that you had to do longer speeches and they were virtual, which was a big change. It put a new facet on speech itself since you had to be more alive with your voice,” Bell said.

Their victory would not have been possible without teamwork. Bell has graced the stage since he was young, but this was the first year Carney participated on a speech team. With the help of the more experienced Bell, Carney quickly grew confident in his acting ability. Both agree that they prefer performing together as they can play off each other and catch their partner’s mistakes.

“My favorite part has been competing in speech meets. They are different than I thought they would be even because they are online. I plan on doing speech team [new year], and I look forward to the in-person meets,” Carney said.

Having a speech team has been a goal of Ms. Holden-Nims for many years, and she could not be more proud of the dedication her team has shown this season. The team is grateful for the opportunities they had to showcase their accomplishments this season, and we cannot wait to see what they will bring to the stage next year!