Feel free to check out the student handout - it has descriptions and pictures of various Speech Team events and facts.
Speech Team is a competitive activity in which students compete in 14 very unique events, ranging from impromptu speaking to acting to newscasting to poetry and prose reading. Students are judged against their competitors at tournaments, competing for a chance to compete in the final round of the tournament, and boost the team score of Wheaton North, while winning trophies and medals for themselves. Speech tournaments, of which there are generally 12-16 (attended by Wheaton North) each year, take place on Saturdays, and usually last eight to twelve hours. Students are usually judged in rounds of five to eight competitors. There are generally three preliminary rounds of competition, and the top-ranking competitors in each event advance to the final round. While there can be anywhere from thirty to sixty students entered in each single event at a tournament, only six or seven usually make finals, and these finalists take home awards. A common misconception is that Speech Team is Debate Team. This is not true - Speech and Debate are two separate activities. The Wheaton North Speech Team competes in Speech: Individual Events (since there are 14 individual events), while Debate is not even related to Individual Events. Currently, Wheaton North does not have a Debate Team. Also, Speech: Individual Events does NOT encompass the Drama/Group Interpretation categories (also known as Contest Plays). Wheaton North does not participate in Drama/Group Interp or Debate competitions; only Individual Events.
LINKS TO EVENT DESCRIPTIONS
Dramatic Duet Acting
Humorous Duet Acting
Special Occasion Speaking
Performance in the Round
In each round, students compete against other students from other high schools (usually). Each performance is evaluated by a judge, who writes comments on a critique sheet that will be used by the competitor to enhance his/her performance at coaching sessions. After all performers have given their pieces, the judge ranks them by giving them a number, 1 thru 6. A 1 is the highest rank, while a 6 is the lowest. After all three rounds of competition, each competitors ranks are added together, and those with the lowest totals (with the most 1's and 2's, usually) advance to the final round. However, at most tournaments, the top two competitors in each event (the two with the lowest total) score team points, whether they advance to finals or not.
All these ranks and scores can be confusing at times. Here's a more detailed description of the whole scoring mechanic. Each competitor is given a rank between 1 and 6 in each round, 1 meaning 1st, 2 meaning 2nd, and so on. After the preliminary rounds, the three ranks are added together - thus someone who got a 1, 2 and 3 would have a total of 6. The people in the tabulation room put together a list of finalists (aiming for a six-person round), comprised of the top-ranking competitors. Usually, students with totals of 3 (1-1-1) or 4 (1-1-2) get in automatically, while people with totals of 5 (1-2-2), 6 (2-2-2) or even 7 (2-2-3) may sneak in depending on how many 1-1-1's and 1-1-2's there were in the tournament. In case of ties, more than six competitors may be in a final round. The team usually gets points from the top two performers in each event. When scoring for the team, each 1 is worth 6 points, each 2 is 5 points, each 3 is 4 points and so on. Thus, a person going 1-1-1 would get 18 points for the team (6+6+6), while a person getting 1-2-3 would get 15 points for the team (6+5+4). Generally, only preliminary rounds count toward team score totals (though at some tournaments, only final rounds count for scoring).
In final rounds, the top competitors in each event compete against each other. While there is only one judge in each preliminary round, there are usually three judges in each final round. Each judge ranks the competitors individually, and all ranks from all judges are added together to get a total final score for the competitor. Thus, a competitor who got 2-2-3 would place higher than someone who got 1-1-6 (2+2+3=7, while 1+1+6=8, and 7 is less than 8). The finalists are organized according to their final round ranks, and the competitor with the lowest total wins 1st, 2nd lowest wins 2nd, and so on. All finalists get a trophy or medal, but students finishing lower than sixth (in final rounds with more than six competitors) are all given 'finalist' medals.)
At the end of the season, the coaches select one competitor from each event to move on to the IHSA (Illinois High School Association) State Series. The competitor from each event competes first in the IHSA regional tournament. Those who place in the top 4 in the Regional final round move on to the Sectional tournament, where more schools compete. The top 3 at the Sectional move on to the State tournament, where schools from the entire state are represented. The state champion is selected in the State Final Round.
Wheaton North's SpeechWire.com Page
OF EACH EVENT
Each event is described and its abbreviation(s) are in parentheses. Please note that only Dramatic Duet Acting, Humorous Duet Acting, and Performance in the Round involve more than one performer.
Dramatic Duet Acting (DDA) - Two students perform an 8 minute memorized interpretation of a published dramatic work. A table and two chairs may be used as props in the performance.
Dramatic Interpretation (DI) - One student performs an 8 minute memorized interpretation of a published dramatic work. The script will often feature more than one character, all of which are portrayed by the performer, using different stances, body language, vocal tones, etc. for each.
Extemporaneous Speaking (ES) - Students are asked a current events-related question and have 45 minutes to compose an argumentative speech answering the question, using materials (magazines, newspapers, etc.) that they bring with them to the tournament for research. The speech should be around 6 minutes long, and must use citations and direct quotes from the sources that the student utilized in their research.
Humorous Interpretation (HI) - One student performs an 8 minute memorized interpretation of a published humorous work. The script will often feature more than one character, all of which are portrayed by the performer, using different stances, body language, vocal tones, etc. for each.
Impromptu Speaking (IMP) - Students are given a prompt (usually a quote, proverb, or single word) and have 2 minutes to prepare a 6 minute speech on the topic. As the speech may be understandably less vocally polished than one memorized before the tournament, evaluation is weighted toward thoughtful analysis and clear organization.
Informative Speaking (INF) - Students compose a speech that informs their audience of an idea, process, object, or other subject of topical interest. The 8 minute speech is written and memorized by the student beforehand, and should provide plenty of detailed information while still being accessible and entertaining for the audience.
Oratorical Declamation (OD) - Students memorize and perform an 8 minute interpretation of a published speech written or delivered by another person. While Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address would be one example, students typically choose less famous speeches, sometimes by mostly unknown speakers (commencement addresses, TED talks, etc.).
Original Comedy (OC) - Students write and perform an original 8 minute humorous script. These should feature multiple characters interacting within some sort of plot. Obnoxious voices and silly storylines are encouraged!
Original Oratory (OO) - Students compose an argumentative speech that serves as a “call to action” for their audience. The 8 minute speech is written and memorized by the student beforehand, should be focused on a problem the student feels needs to be addressed (gun violence, high taxes, low voter turnout, etc.), and should offer solutions to the problem.
Poetry Reading (PO) - Students find a poem or poems and read them to the audience out of a small notebook, using vocal inflection, facial expression, and hand gestures to convey emotion and communicate the message of the piece(s) throughout the 8 minute performance. Memorization is not necessary in this event; however, practice is critical in order to eliminate stumbles, allow for sustained eye contact with the audience, and gain a deep understanding of the piece.
Prose Reading (PR) - Students find a piece of literature and read it to the audience out of a small notebook, using vocal inflection, facial expression, and hand gestures to convey emotion and communicate the message of the piece throughout the 8 minute performance. Memorization is not necessary in this event; however, practice is critical in order to eliminate stumbles, allow for sustained eye contact with the audience, and gain a deep understanding of the piece.
Radio Speaking (RS) - Students are provided a packet of news stories and are given 45 minutes to construct and practice a 5 minute newscast containing world, national, local and sports news, along with weather and a commercial. Memorization is not necessary; the performer reads their assembled script, and is evaluated on broadcast organization, clear enunciation with minimal stumbles, and a pleasant and professional delivery that varies depending on the tone of each news story, much as a radio or TV news anchor aims for. Depending on the tournament, scripts may be assembled at home the evening before with no preparation time limit.
Special Occasion Speaking (SOS) - Students compose a speech that uses humor to convey an important message. The 8 minute speech is written and memorized by the student beforehand, and is structured as a lighthearted and entertaining address to a particular group of people (Student Council members, English department staff, Boy Scout troop, etc.) that highlights an issue the student feels deserves attention (technology addiction, self-centeredness, homework load, etc.).
Performance in the Round (PIR) - This event is exclusive to the IHSA state series. Students not competing in one of the 14 individual events in the state series are eligible to compete in Performance in the Round. PIR is a 15 minute interpretation of a dramatic or humorous script performed by a small group of students. It resembles a short play and is judged as such; however, it must take place in a circular performance area with a 16 foot radius. As many set elements and props as the team sees fit may be utilized in the space; music, makeup, and costumes are permitted as well.