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Dickinson-New England speech team excels at state meet

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The Dickinson-New England speech time finished its season on a high note at the Class A state speech meet Saturday, April 12, in Jamestown.

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Eighteen members saw their dedication pay off by qualifying for the state meet, and five placed in the top eight for their respective events.

One member who placed at state was Dickinson High junior Kaleb Dschaak. He qualified for his two events, impromptu speaking and radio broadcasting, by qualifying for them at WDA meet, taking fourth and seventh place, respectively.

Dschaak commented on how professional the state meet ran, and how there were a lot of people who seemed to be genuinely excited and very cooperative to have the opportunity to compete at the state level.

“When I broke (into finals) for radio, I was anxious for preparing for my radio editorial, and excited to see where I would place,” Dschaak said. “It was very tense, and there was a lot bigger emphasis on success rather than failure.”

Dschaak is one of two captains on the Dickinson High team, and his favorite event to compete in is impromptu speaking. He is one of two juniors on the team and will be taking over the leadership role for Dickinson-New England speech next year.

Another Dickinson High student who competed in radio broadcasting was sophomore Marc Michaelson. He competed at state in radio broadcasting and speech to inform. Michaelson also got an award for being an all-state speaker. To be an all-state speaker, a student had to have placed in the top 20 percent in four different events. Michaelson’s events were radio broadcasting, speech to inform, humorous duo and humorous interpretation.

He placed fifth in speech to inform and sixth in radio broadcasting at the state meet.

His informative speech was on bananas. It covered everything from the origin of them, to why they are so popular today.

The other all-state speaker on the team was Trinity senior Austin Oltmanns.

Oltmanns received his all-state award for placing high in speech to entertain, humorous duo, humorous interpretation and serious dramatic duo.

At state, Oltmanns competed in speech to entertain and serious dramatic duo with fellow Trinity senior Gretchen Weir. While at state he received second place in speech to entertain. He considered it to be the pinnacle of his speaking career.

“My topic for the speech was on eight things that women should not say to men,” Oltmanns said. Examples of things were: “I don’t think you can lift that,” “Are you sure you know where we’re going?,” and “Are you ignoring me?”

The above quotes, he said, are things that should never be said to men by women. He also added that his senior year of speech was fantastic, and it capped off his speech career.

“I really enjoyed the co-op this year,” \Oltmanns said. “It brought about new faces that I would not have otherwise seen.”

He added that he thinks the speech team is in a good spot for next year, and that this is thanks to coaches and team members alike.

The speech team is coached by Mrs. Janel Schiff of Trinity and Mrs. Yvonne Seifert of Dickinson High.

Schiff was impressed by the team’s great standing this year, and also expressed praise for all the hard work that went into making this year’s team.

“As coaches, we are proud of the dedication and commitment of our students,” Schiff said. “They showed tremendous support for one another, displaying what it means to be part of a team. All of the competitors experienced growth as individuals and contributed to our success this season.”

The immediate impact of that growth can be shown by how many Dickinson-New England speech competitors qualified for state this year.

In order to state qualify, students had to take first in their event at a regular meet or be in the top 50 percent at the WDA meet.

Ten Trinity students qualified, six were from Dickinson High — including Hagen seventh-grader Hillary Moberg — and New England High School had two students, freshman Emily Ehlis and eighth-grader Eve Stegner. Ehlis qualified in speech to inform.

Trinity had three seniors on the team this year — Oltmanns, Weir and Sarah Strube.

Strube competed in two events at state, programmed reading (EPR) and serious dramatic duo with Dickinson High junior Reed Johnson.

At state, she took seventh in EPR and eighth in dramatic duo. Strube was very excited and surprised to find out that she had achieved her goal for the season of making the state finals.

“It’s definitely sad to see the end,” said Strube, “some of my greatest memories have been made in speech.”

Strube said she plans on checking out speech in college and thinks of her time competing in the activity as valuable experience. Strube plans to attend University of North Dakota in the fall.

While at state, Dickinson-New England took ninth as a team. Out of 18 students that competed at state, five competitors placed: Dschaak, Johnson, Michaelson, Oltmanns and Strube.

Johnson is a junior at Dickinson High School.

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