Speech Team Ends Year with Stunning Showcase

Gabby Landry '18, Editor-in-Chief

Where can one find poetry, prose, plays, and other performances in one place on one night of the year?  Anyone who was at Montrose at 7PM on Tuesday evening can tell you: at the Speech Showcase.  

As a final culmination of their hard work and dedication throughout the year, the Montrose Speech Team held the Speech Showcase after the regular season of practices and tournaments ended.  On May 17th, 11 Speech Team members as well as Montrosians and family members gathered in Founders’ Hall and adjacent classrooms to listen to some of the best pieces the Montrose Speech Team performed this year.

During the opening remarks in Founders’ Hall, Speech Team Coach Mrs. McGowan spoke about the hard work, progress, and accomplishments of the Speech Team this year.  She said, “I tried to count all of the awards our girls have won, and I lost count.  I have watched these girls make incredible progress this year.”  She also discussed the benefits of participating in the Speech Team: “Speech strengthens one’s public speaking skills and one’s ability to create a logical organization and flow of ideas when speaking.”

After opening remarks, those in attendance proceeded to adjacent classrooms to hear between 3 and 4 pieces from the 11 Speech Team members.  Over the course of the year, Team members compete in a variety of categories, ranging from poetry reading to duo interpretation to impromptu.  

I think I speak for all who attended that regardless of the category, each piece was phenomenal.  Each member obviously put in a lot of work in making her piece come to life.  For example, Nora Cahill ‘19 performed a piece from the play reading category about Billie Holiday, the famous singer.  Rather than simply read lines, she gave her characters voices and positions, and even full-out sang parts of her piece that called for it.

In another category, Yvonne Niebuhr ‘18 and Molly Bowman ‘18 performed their duo interpretation piece “How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack.”  The two combined coordinated movements and humorous lines to make for a hilarious, entertaining, and enjoyable performance.

On the more serious side, Erin Golden ‘17 shared a speech in the original oratory category; that is, her speech was one self-written, as opposed to other pieces of the night which were written by others.  In a moving and thought-provoking speech on respect, she challenged the audience to really think about themselves and our society today.  In her speech, she said, “I look at the world today and I think: ‘What happened?’  People have lost that sense of respect for themselves and for others…We need to stop tolerating disrespect.”  I think I speak for all present that her speech was both thoughtful and thought-provoking.

Though all pieces were stunning, one speech in particular truly impressed me: Katie Sidhu ‘16’s impromptu speech. She performed an original speech on a surprise topic drawn from an envelope, with merely 6 minutes to prepare and perform a speech.  The audience watched as Katie drew her topic and proceeded to think about, then give, an interesting speech on that topic.  The topic she chose to speak about was “White Vans.”  At first I thought, “How is she going to make up an entire speech in a couple minutes about a popular Vine?”  But then, she began to speak.  She related the image of white Vans to the idea of a blank, unwritten slate; a completely original place on which to write your own story.  Katie then gave two examples of people writing their own stories, with Sophocles’ play Antigone and with former female prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi.  I was blown away by Speech Members’ ability to form an interesting, compelling speech in literally a matter of minutes, and perform it as if they had been preparing for weeks.

Every other Speech Team member’s performances were just as stunning.  Kiran Kottapalli ‘18 performed Shel Silverstein’s “A Boy Named Sue” as part of the poetry reading category.  Combining a funny poem with an interesting message, Kiran shared a thought-provoking view on how our names affect our lives.

Alex Rider ‘18’s prose reading of Roald Dahl’s “The Landlady” was both entertaining and a bit spooky with the piece’s story line meshed with Alex’s creative character portrayal.  I observed young audience members exchanging slightly scared faces with parent as Alex continued the story.  One Montrosian in attendance, Anna Sheehan ‘21 later came up to Alex and asked how the story ends, as she was so enchanted by its plot.

Still other members shined during the Showcase.  Annie Miklus ‘18 performed two dramatic pieces, one in the children’s literature category and another in the dramatic performance category.  The former was Roald Dahl’s “The Enormous Crocodile.”  Annie’s entertaining representation of various jungle animals made the entire audience, young and old, burst with laughter.  Her dramatic performance piece was just as entertaining.  “10 Ways to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse” combined the same techniques of character representation as in other categories with an interesting twist ending.  Annie’s performances of both pieces brought the stories to life in impressive ways.

Other members did the same.  Lara Scaria ‘20 performed a piece in the novice reading category,   Aine Ford ‘18 in poetry reading,  and Molly Cahill ‘16 in Declamation.

At the end of the night, Mrs. McGowan announced the winners of next year’s Speech Team captains.  Congratulations to Annie Miklus ‘18 and Erin Golden ‘17 for winning this honor.  We know that your love of Speech, dedication to the team, and hard work will make next year’s season as successful, if not more, as this year’s.

Overall, the Speech Showcase was a truly impressive demonstration of the hard work and accomplishments of Montrose’s successful Speech Team.  Anyone could recognize and appreciate members’ dedication at memorizing and practicing (or coming up with one the spot) complex and extensive speeches and performances.  As Speech Team continues next year, we can expect this same level of greatness in each and every practice and performance.  As for me, I look forward to attending next year’s Speech Showcase, as I know it will be as stunning as this year’s was.

Speech Team Seniors Molly Cahill '16 and Katie Sidhu '16 pose with coach Mrs. Sarah McGowan
Speech Team Seniors Molly Cahill ’16 and Katie Sidhu ’16 pose with coach Mrs. Sarah McGowan