State-Qualifying Speech Teams Host Home Show

City High’s eight state-bound speech teams perform at the home show


Alice Boerner

Esther Puderbaugh ’25 performs solo during musical theatre act “[title of show]” with castmates Jared Moninger ’23, Charles Faden ’22, and Abril Hamity ’25.

Callista Robertson and Alice Boerner

The lights rise on Opstad Auditorium and applause fills the air as eight seniors tumble onstage to welcome everyone to this year’s Large Group Speech Home Show. 

City High’s large group speech teams performed on Friday, January 28, the show comprised of an array of events including ensemble acting, group improv, and musical theatre. 

Jennifer Brinkmeyer, head coach for speech at City, feels that the home show is a great opportunity for friends and family to show support when they can’t go along to competitions.

“[The home show] was wonderful! It helps us get ready for state. At the home show, students take more ownership and pride in their work,” Brinkmeyer said. “I also like how other students can come and decide they want to do speech next year. They realize it’s more about acting than speaking, and they see how much fun we have.”

Ben Faden ‘22 is a member of one of the improv groups who performed on Friday.

“We put a lot of work into speech that’s kind of underground, almost. It doesn’t get shown off as much as the bigger drama productions,” Faden lamented. “So it’s really nice to have an opportunity to show your friends and family what you’ve been working on during the season.”

The teams competed in the district large group speech competition on Saturday, January 22. All eight teams earned Division I rankings and will be moving on to the state competition. 

“[Performing at districts] was a wonderful experience. Students helped each other get ready during the day and watched each other perform,” Brinkmeyer said. “I think that sense of connection directly contributed to our perfect results.”

Faden echoed his coach’s sentiment, describing that teams were excited to showcase their performances in an in-person competition setting.

“Considering we didn’t really get to go to districts last year, it was really nice to be back in a real competition setting,” Faden said. “It was kind of stressful to be back there, but it was fun to be competing again. We’re all super excited to be going to State.”

According to Brinkmeyer, City’s speech teams have continued to improve since the season began back in early November, and have kept working to perfect their shows.

“[Throughout the season] I’ve seen more confidence, bolder choices, and a greater sense of connection between castmates,” Brinkmeyer said.

City High’s eight teams will compete at the state competition on Saturday, February 5. Teams that are nominated by two or more of their judges as outstanding performances will have a chance to perform at All-State.

“I love holding a space that includes all students in exploring their creative expression,” Brinkmeyer said. “It is truly rewarding to build something with students and know that each student is a key contributor to what we make.”