Princeton High School speech students Brian Kunz, Alicia Aho, Kenny Cowles, Matt Kreft and Gino Fraboni would have liked it if they all could have been together in the room of Thor Mattick,
PHS English teacher and head speech coach, after school last Friday.
They could have helped each other that afternoon in preparing for this Friday’s state high school speech meet at Blaine High School. The five qualified for the meet by placing high enough in their section meet.
But only three of the five made it to Mattick’s classroom after
school Friday – Fraboni, Kunz and Aho. Still, they are all likely to be in Mattick’s room most of this week, from talking to them.
Aho could have been given a gold star for her effort as she had driven all the way from St. Peter where she, a senior at PHS, is spending her week days this school year attending Gustavus Adolphus College. She is taking college courses there as a post secondary education option.
Aho could have collected gold stars for most of the high school speech season, actually, as she attended every meet but one this season. She said that driving the 160 miles from St. Peter to Princeton has not been bad.
“It’s definitely worth it,” she said of committing to the PHS speech team schedule. Aho, whose category is extemporaneous speaking, spent some time last Friday in Mattick’s classroom, practicing her speech delivery in front of assistant speech coach Linda Evans.
The extemporaneous speech category, the same one Cowles is in, involves drawing three questions out of a hat that deal with international situations. The student picks one challenging international question and has 30 minutes to write a seven-minute speech in which the student takes a particular side in the issue.
Both Cowles and Aho are big followers of international current events.
Aho took the stance, during her practice speech in front of Evans, that sanctions and talks have been insufficient in curbing Iran’s nuclear buildup, which some analysts claim is a move to develop nuclear bombs. Aho suggested that “soon it may be necessary for the United States to carry out a military strike on Iran,” such as at an Iranian nuclear research center.
Going to the state speech meet will be new for Aho and Kreft, a sophomore, this year, as Fraboni, Kunz and Cowles, all seniors, went to it last year.
Cowles on politics
Cowles was unable to be at the Friday practice because of a job commitment. But he was as enthusiastic as his fellow students headed for the state meet.
He talked animatedly about topics in his extemporaneous speaking category, bringing up the debt crisis in Europe and international politics, and said that speech is a “fun” way to present views on those topics.
Kreft in humorous
Kreft was unable to make last Friday’s practice because of driver’s training. Reached Saturday morning, Kreft said he would be practicing hard this week on the piece he is doing in the humorous category. It is called “Soap Opera,” written by David Ives.
It is about a washing machine repairman who has romantic feelings for a washing machine. It is a takeoff of an old Maytag washing machine commercial where the repairman talks fondly about a Maytag washer, both Kreft and Evans said. In Ives’ “Soap Opera,” the main character is called a maypole washing machine repairman.
Kreft said he is “ very nervous” about the upcoming state meet, but he knows the story line of “Soap Opera” very well. Kreft explained that the repairman in the story feels that the washing machine of his desire is the “pinnacle of cleanliness and perfect in every way.”
Kunz in discussion
Kunz, commenting on how he will practice for his category of discussion, said that Mattick will be helping him work on how to take the floor, so to speak, in the discussion group, to make a statement.
During prelims, the discussion groups consist of six people, while during the final round, it is eight. Discussion students are not supposed to talk over someone else or butt in, but it seems to happen so much at the state competition that it passes, Kunz said.
Each discussion group has to reach a consensus and the participants are graded on how they help the group reach the consensus.
Fraboni in storytelling
Fraboni, whose category is storytelling, practiced giving a selection from Grimms’ Tales in front of Evans last Friday. It is also a case where the student draws three selections out of a hat and picks one to give.
The student has to know all of the 15 different Grimms’ Tales selections so they can give one without the story in front of them. The storytelling student gives the story in their own words, using different voices for each character.