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Speech team showcase

Jamestown High School seniors Samara McDermid, left, and Joseph Lauinger rehearse their serious duo category speech on April 3 at Jamestown Middle School. John M. Steiner / The Sun

If you go

What: Blue Jay Speech Showcase

When: 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 11

Where: Jamestown Arts Center, 115 2nd St SW

Details: State qualified grade 7-12 speech team readings

Admission: free

Contact: 251-2496

What: State Class A Speech Meet

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 13

Where: Jamestown High School, 1509 10th St. NE

Admission: free

Contact: 252-0317


Blue Jay speech team members say there is a special bond that brings them back to compete again each year.

Speech helps with talking in front of people and that will help with any career choice, said Joseph Lauinger, a senior. But it's friends and a sense of community that make the experience, he said.

"We all feel like a speech family," Lauinger said.

Lauinger and fellow senior Samara McDermid won the serious duo category at multiple events this season and will compete in the state meet on Saturday.

The two portray friends who met at summer camp as children, and McDermid's character approaches Lauinger's character years later to ask him to marry her. The problem is, he's already married.

"There is a twist at the end," McDermid said.

McDermid, who will also compete in the serious prose category, said she learned a lot over the years in speech just by watching others perform. People take the same material and present it in new and interesting ways, she said.

The speech competition categories include entertain, inform or persuade; storytelling; prose; dramatic interpretation; programmed reading or speech; humorous; impromptu; poetry interpretation and radio broadcasting. There are individual and duo competitions.

Many of the 35 Blue Jay members in grades 7-12 who will compete at the WDA state meet on Saturday have qualified by finishing first at previous meets or the region tournament. The students who will compete at the state meet will present speeches at the Arts Center on Thursday evening.

The team and individual members have placed at several of the nine meets and finished second as a team at the regional competition in Bismarck, said Laura Weis, head coach and sixth grade English teacher, along with Chantel Harr, assistant coach and JHS English teacher. There were five WDA champions from the event, she said.

"We're really excited for WDA this year," Weis said. "The kids should do well with such excellent competition."

Jayden Luck, a sophomore, and Paris Eslick, a freshman, compete in the humorous duo category. The two play sisters with the elder trying to teach the younger how to kiss.

"We have to be funny together," Eslick said. "It's very fun and adorable."

Kaitlin Gerszewski, a senior, speaks in support of vaccinations in the persuade category. She is also competing in dramatic duo as someone trying to talk a friend down from suicidal thoughts with teammate Abby Rang, a senior.

"I'm kind of like her conscience," Gerszewski said.

It is speeches like this that light a fire in the soul to help do some good, Rang said. It's an opportunity to look into someone's mind.

"It is a difficult and timely topic," Rang said.