Freshman Peyton Van Hook, sophomore Zyan Kirkland, junior Meeri Shin and senior Alex Morrow will be competing at the state level of the Tennessee High School Speech and Drama League.
At the last district level event, sophomore Zyan Kirkland and junior Meeri Shin placed in the top three in their categories. Kirkland took second place in impromptu speaking and Shin placed second in TV broadcasting.
“I do theater art-type things, so it is something that I really enjoy,” Kirkland said.
In the impromptu category, Kirkland had to complete three rounds of presentations.
“You don’t know what you are going to speak on. From the beginning you have to draw three slips and you have 10 seconds to decide ... up to three minutes to prepare and up to four minutes to speak,” Kirkland said. “It’s usually a quote or a song lyric.”
In the TV broadcasting category, Shin had to study a selection of articles for 30 minutes than present the information as if she was giving a newscast on it. The category has a five-minute performance time limit.
Kirkland said she might participate n the debate category in the future.
Van Hook advanced to the state level in the prose category.
Morrow and Shin will team up for the debate category when they compete at state.
With debate the team has a month to research and prepare arguments
Senior Rachel Callais also competed at the district level, but did not advance to the state level.
“It was a whole new world for me,” Callais said.
Callais said she saw being a participant as a way to improve her poetry delivery and performance skills.
At the district level the students competed against all the participating teams from Southeast Tennessee.
“We took this first year feeling a lot like David against Goliath,” said Doris Manning, debate coach for the club. “We have such talented kids here at Walker Valley that they are really stepping up to the plate.”
This year is the first time a speech and debate club has been offered at Walker Valley.
The club was started by teacher Donna Spain as a way for students to experience something she enjoyed while in high school.
She said her goal is to grow the club so the team can win a tournament. Schools receive points based on how participants do and the school with the most is named the overall tournament winner.
Manning said the group’s participation in competitions began with two students. By the time district competition came six students were ready to enter categories.
“It takes a while to get a club started and I think they are all finding out that it is a lot of work,” Manning said.
Shin said the debate category requires a lot of study and preparation.
“But, it’s worth it,” she said.
Callais said they were competing against students who prepared year-round for their events.
“I went to districts and it was my first event that I had ever gone to,” Kirkland said.