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The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

Staff Profile
Jack Rogers
Jack Rogers
Sports Co-Editor

Speech Gets the Show on the Road

After City High’s Speech team attended the district competition, they prepare for state
Speech+seniors+open+the+Speech+Home+Show+in+January
Yomi Hemley
Speech seniors open the Speech Home Show in January

Waiting in the Liberty High School gym, Livian LaVine ‘24, waits for her improv results for the speech competition. After waiting for four hours for her one-act results and getting the unfortunate news that they didn’t make it to State, she was hoping for good results. Rushing to the newly put-up papers, she sees that her improv group got a one, the best score, meaning her team is going to the State Competition.

“After I’d gotten the one-act score, I was feeling a little sad. But when we went in and did our improv sketch, people were laughing. It was a good time to perform it, and it seemed like people had fun watching it. It felt really good to get that score, and I think it felt well deserved,” LaVine said.

For speech, there are four possible ratings: one, two, three, or four. A four means a rule violation, resulting in a disqualification; a two and three are scores on the lower side, meaning that there are still things the group can work on before going onto the next level; and a one means that the group advances to the State Competition. Finding out these results can take anywhere from minutes to hours.

“The process was very intense. We didn’t find out [our one-act results] for about four hours after we performed. We were chewing our fingernails and just thinking ‘what’s it going to be?’ Then we unfortunately found out. But for improv, it was a lot faster. We felt a lot more confident and it was a really great feeling to rush out of the bleachers, onto the gym floor [to look at the score],” LaVine said. 

Speech season starts after the fall play ends and ends once the spring musical begins. Speech is a way to continue theater during City High Drama’s off-season.

“I wanted another opportunity to act outside of play and musical season,” Norah Mettemeyer ‘24 said. 

Mettemeyer is a part of musical theater and improv. Both of the groups that she participates in moved on to the State Competition. However, this took lots of hard work.

“I’m practicing outside of my musical theater rehearsal specifically and just putting my best effort in every rehearsal that I go to,” Mettemeyer said.

One common misconception about Speech is that it is like Debate. Instead, it is competitive Theater.

“Speech is a large group activity and it involves a series of different events. We have everything from Ensemble Acting, One Act, Musical Theater, Group Mime, and Solo Mime, which is also a part of Large Group Speech. There’s also Radio Broadcast and Short Film. Just a lot of different activities to get students involved, practicing their speaking and their communication effectively,” Jennifer Brinkmeyer said.

Brinkmeyer is the Speech Coach for Improv and Ensemble Acting. She has been a Speech Coach for 17 years. As Speech continues its competition season, she must make sure that her groups are ready for the competitions.

“[For competitions], we go and compete at different schools. It’s kind of like All-State for band, choir, and orchestra, but it’s in a theater setting,” Mettemeyer says.

This year, City High has nine speech groups. After the recent district competition at Liberty High School, only five of City High’s groups will advance to the State Competition.

“[Competitions] are just a super fun day. You get to hang out and watch other groups compete and perform,” Mettemeyer said.

Speech isn’t just a fun club, though. It builds many useful skills that those in Speech can use later in life. Because of this, Brinkmeyer highly recommends all students try out Speech.

“I was involved in Speech for four years in high school, and it really improved my confidence and my ability to communicate effectively. The mission of Speech is that everyone knows how to be a strong communicator because that’s just joy for life. Speech is fun and a creative outlet,” Brinkmeyer said.

Brinkmeyer started her love of Speech in high school and continues to share that love with as many students as possible to this day. She does this by making sure that everyone is welcome at Speech and no one is rejected.

“There’s lots of student input and how we do things and how we invent things and create, which I think is really special that you don’t always get in drama. I think it’s cool that anyone can be involved. So I don’t turn anyone away. There is a spot for everyone in Speech. There’s no one who can’t do it. And so I really love being a truly inclusive club,” Brinkmeyer said.

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Yomi Hemley, Feature Co-Editor
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