Speech team returns to JHS

Alice Webster, staff writer

There are many young actors at Jacksonville High School, but their opportunities to stretch their creative muscles have been limited to the fall play and the spring musical. Until now, that is. English teacher and Shakespeare scholar Buford Stowers is stepping up to the plate and bringing IHSA Speech Team back to JHS after its long hiatus, saying, “I was in the speech team back when I was in school, and I am very excited to bring it back.”

Speech team events include dramatic and humorous interpretations, dramatic and humorous duets, impromptu speaking, original oratory, prose and poetry readings, persuasive oratory, and multiple other interesting events. If you are not entirely sure as to what some of these category names even mean, think of stand up comedians, Saturday Night Live skits, and Abbot and Costello’s famous “Who’s on first?” bit. Some of these categories require the students to write their own pieces, such as impromptu speaking and original oratory, while others require them to memorize a previously published piece, such as the interpretations and duets. Many of the events leave room for experimentation and ingenuity. While the play and the musical only occur once a year each, the speech team is an ongoing creative outlet for the young actors of Jacksonville High School.

Current speech team members include Reed Davis, Grace Smith, Alice Webster, Patience Griffin, Lauren Stidham, Myka Ties, Jasmine Watson, Gabe Karr, and many more, but new members are still welcome. Members will attend multiple Saturday meets throughout the year, all leading up to regionals. At each meet, members will be ranked within their event. With diligence and hard work, some of them could even make it to state.

Speech team currently meets every Tuesday after school for about an hour in room 809, Mr. Stowers’s classroom, also called the “Speech Cave.” Members are not required to attend every single meeting, but consistent attendance is strongly advised. Many members have already chosen their pieces, but there is still plenty of time to do so for new members (and the more indecisive original ones).

With no shortage of creativity, fun, and support from coach Buford Stowers, Jacksonville High School speech team promises to be a lasting and satisfactory club. Sign up sheets are currently available in room 809.